Behold the miserable future that may await Norwegian monster Anders Breivik! Oh wait, sorry, we think we accidentally swapped in a photo of the new dorm rooms at NYU. Hold on a second ...
Hmmm. Nope, this actually is a photo of a cell in Halden prison, Norway's second-largest, which opened last year to great fanfare and may eventually house Breivik. Like every other cell in the prison, it comes replete with a flat-screen TV, a mini-fridge, and a private bathroom. If a prisoner should grow tired of such depressing confines, he can always head out to the climbing wall, the recording studio, or the communal kitchen. "In the Norwegian prison system, there's a focus on human rights and respect," prison governor Are Hoida explained last May. "We don't see any of this as unusual."
Many Americans may shake their heads at these overly compassionate Europeans, coddling society's worst criminals instead of punishing them. In the case of Breivik especially, it's nauseating to think of the everyday comforts he might enjoy after destroying so many lives. (Although, despite speculation that he could end up at Halden, we kind of doubt he will. Norway has other prisons, after all. But let's keep speculating — it's fun!) In general though, Norway seems to be doing something right:
Countries track recidivism rates differently, but even an imperfect comparison suggests the Norwegian model works. Within two years of their release, 20% of Norway's prisoners end up back in jail. In the U.K. and the U.S., the figure hovers between 50% and 60%.
We guess that's good, if you're into that sort of thing.