World's Nicest Prison Has Features Of Five-Star Resort [VIDEO]

 @ceylanwrites
on May 24 2012 4:59 PM

Beachfronts, rocky coasts, rustic farms, tennis courts and saunas paint the setting for a perfect getaway; in Norway it's the backdrop of a prison.

Located on a one-square-mile island off southern Norway, Bastoy is the most unconventional prison you could possibly imagine.

At Bastoy, inmates hold keys to their rooms, which are surrounded by beautiful pine trees instead of fences and armed guards, CNN reports.

Murderers and low-level convicts mix on this island. During summer months they are entitled to sunbathe on the beach, fish and play tennis.

It's still prison, one inmate told CNN. In your mind; you are locked (up).

The 115 prisoners on the island are also given the opportunity to work, at pay of about $10 a day.

During CNN's visit to the island, a 42-year-old murderer was spotted delivering a brown and white calf. He cried as the animal was born and later called his family, telling them he was going to be a dad.

The majority of prisoners on the island are serving time for crimes such as murder, rape and drug trafficking, and the aim is to use the setting to spur a dramatic turnaround, as seen with the murderer- turned- midwife.

If we have created a holiday camp for criminals here, so what? asked Arne Kvernvik, the prison's governor and a former minister and psychologist, in an interview with CNN. He added, We should reduce the risk of reoffending, because if we don't, what's the point of punishment, except for leaning toward the primitive side of humanity?

It's not just the setting of the prison that has the vibe of a five-star resort. The food is also far superior to other prisons around the world. When CNN asked the chef what was on the menu, he accounted for everything from fish balls to chicken and salmon.

Only 16 percent of inmates released from Norway's Bastoy prison reoffend within two years, according to a 2010 report, which is considerably less than the 43 percent rate of reoffenders that come out of American state prisons after three years.

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