Is This the Hellhole That Anders Breivik Will Live in for the Rest of His Life?

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Feature Rates Apply Mandatory Credit: Photo by Trond Isaksen/Rex / Rex USA ( 693639a ) Prison cell with remote control flatscreen television Halden Fengsel prison, Halden, Norway - May 2010 MORE WORDS AVAILABLE The rooms are spacious, modern and are equipped with flat-screen TVs and minifridges. There is a spotless gym, climbing wall and wooded jogging trails for the residents to get some exercise. In fact, nestled in 75 acres of a picturesque forest in southeastern Norway, one could mistake this for a trendy hotel - but it is in fact the country's newest prison. Built at a cost of $252million over ten years, Halden Fengsel is a world away from the bleak and overcrowded jails of other countries. Opened in April to house 248 inmates, the nation's second largest prison has been constructed based on the principle that "correctional services shall provide that the offender should be able to make a personal effort to change his pattern of criminal action". Photo: Trond Isaksen/Rex/Rex USA

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.

Norway massacre suspect Anders Behring Breivik's potential prison digs equipped with fancy luxuries [NYDN]