Bastoy Prison, Norway
With a population of just five million, It’s totally possible that most Norwegian families have one cousin in prison – and this is where you want to be. Bastoy is a minimum security prison that is also the first ecological detention center in the world where inmates live in wooden cottages, work on a prison farm and have access to activites like fishing, tennis and event cross-country skiing. The recidivism rate is just 16 per cent, compared to Europe’s average of 70 per cent.
Loeben Justice Center, Austria
Perhaps one of the most beautiful prisons in the world is the Loeben Justice Center (even the name is unique) with walls made out of wood, shatter-proof glass and floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto a balcony. Each “pod” contains 15 single-person cells with their own private bathrooms, TV and a shared kitchen. In addition, inmates are allowed to wear their own clothes because, as the warden explained to reporters: “The more normal a life you give them here, the less necessary it is to re-socialize them when they leave.”
Cereso Chetumal, Mexico
The warden and several of the guards at Cereso Chetumal prison near the border of Mexico and Belize do not carry guns. They also allow prisoners to wear their own clothes and even battle it out in the boxing ring if a dispute arises. The grounds also includes a small spa with massage and holistic treatments, a gym and a kitchen – with its Belgian chef. With 1,100 inmates, it is said that inmates often find it hard to leave because of the easier lifestyle they had within the prison walls.