The following Chinese article about Norway’s “luxurious” Halden Prison appears to have been translated from an English article on Foreign Policy. There are simplified and complex character versions, with some versions having additional photos from different sources mixed in.
Instead of translating the Chinese back into English, I have used the original English article’s text whenever possible. However, when comparing the translated Chinese to the original English, there are some differences. Some are omissions while others are mistranslations. Some of the more substantial text omitted from the Chinese translation are shown in light grey color. Some of the more major mistranslations are noted in the Chinese pop-up boxes within square brackets. Lastly, I have presented the text according to the paragraphs used in the Chinese version.
Hell becomes Heaven — Norway’s Super Luxurious Prison Life
Norway’s unrepentant mass killer, Anders Behring Breivik, is now under arrest. And he should count himself lucky for — if entirely undeserving of — a penal system in that country that is among the cushiest in the world.
There’s no capital punishment, and the longest jail term allowed is 21 years (a caveat: if a prisoner is deemed to still be a threat, his sentence can be extended in five-year blocks indefinitely, though it’s highly unlikely, according to Norwegian officials).
In Norway, rehabilitation is the guiding principle, not punishment — a somewhat difficult notion to swallow given the gravity and callousness of his crimes.
“Both society and the individual simply have to put aside their desire for revenge, and stop focusing on prisons as places of punishment and pain,” one Norwegian prison official told the Daily Mail. “Depriving a person of their freedom for a period of time is sufficient punishment in itself without any need whatsoever for harsh prison conditions.”
Norway’s newest jail may hold rapists and murderers, but Halden Prison — the country’s second largest and most secure facility — looks more like a posh sleepaway camp. In fact, architects say they purposely tried to avoid an “institutional feel.” When it opened in 2010, some news accounts called it the “most humane” prison in the world.
Indeed, one of the many perks at Halden is flat-screen televisions in inmates’ rooms. There’s no HBO, though, so reruns of Oz and The Wire are contraband. Still, prisoners get private cells with mini-fridges and large windows to let in more sunlight. Here, then, is a quick tour of what luxuries may await Breivik behind bars. (That’s a figure of speech, of course: There are no iron bars at Halden.)
Prisoners spend a lot of time out of their cells; exercise is encouraged. And in Halden, not only is there clean air but personal trainers. Here, a comely woman coach jogs alongside an inmate in the prison yard.
According to Time magazine, the prison is spread over 75 acres “of gently sloping forest.… To avoid an institutional feel, exteriors are not concrete but made of bricks, galvanized steel and larch; the buildings seem to have grown organically from the woodlands.”
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison? Please. At Halden, the inmates can form their own band. And what’s more, they can lay down an album in the prison’s professional recording studio.
The well-stocked library at Halden contains not only books but magazines, CDs, and DVDs. What? No Crime and Punishment audiobook?
Inmates share common kitchens and living rooms. Some common areas are designated as places where both inmates and guards can meet and mingle — or, you know, just hang out.
The prison boasts a state-of-the-art gym, complete with a rock-climbing wall. No word yet on whether there’s a class on tunneling.
Guards don’t carry guns and are encouraged to be outgoing and friendly toward the inmates —
they eat together and play sports in mixed teams to create a sense of family, according to officials. The Longest Yard this ain’t.
No gold teeth among Halden’s inmates. Not with free dental checkups.
An inmate in his private bathroom — one of many amenities that make Halden feel more like a college dorm than a prison.
Nothing says rehabilitation like rhythm. Here, prisoners and their instructor get down during a music class.
An inmate learns to ride a unicycle in the prison gym. Seriously.
Dolk, a Norwegian Banksy-style graffiti artist, was commissioned to create art for the prison — at a price tag of $1 million.
Comments from VOC:
If prison is too comfortable, then everyone will want to go there, and society’s law will become even more ineffective.
If the Heavenly Kingdom’s prisons were this comfortable, the crime rate would definitely go up.
What kind of world is this… Other country’s convicts are living easier lives than I am!!!
No wonder Norway is judged as the world’s happiest nation.
How is that like a prison sentence? It’s clearly a vacation!
Let’s all go to Norway and commit crimes~~~
If it were like this in China, the crime rate would rapidly rise, and maybe one day I will go try too. However in European countries with high welfare, the situation would again be different.
[It's] because the life outside of prison in Norway is even more comfortable.
There’s no hide-and-seek game in that prison, [which means its] slightly worse compared to China. ["Hide and seek" became an internet meme in 2009.]
This is respect for human rights~~ Only when the state respects the ordinary common people will the ordinary common people respect the state~~
Because everyone in Norway lives very comfortably, so for them, losing freedom is already the worst punishment.
If one day Norway were to no longer be so prosperous, then their prisoners won’t be so comfortable either.
Clearly proves that there are no corrupt officials there!
If I go to Norway and commit a crime, does it mean I can serve my sentence in Norway’s prisons?
Fuck, this is a prison?! The whole thing is a luxury hotel! [The situation] within our country and abroad is completely different!
Norway’s bombing and shooting case killer may enter the world’s most luxurious prison.
Local time July 27th report, the Norway bomb attack and shooting spree killer [Anders Behring] Breivik in all probability will spend the next 8 week in the Ila Landsfengsel [prison] on the outskirts of Oslo.
According to Norway’s penal system, Brevik can receive 21 years in prison at most, though if at the end of his punishment he is still considered a danger to society, his sentence can be extended in 5 year increments. However, according to Norway administrative officials, such a situation where the sentence is extended is very unlikely to occur.
Halden Prison is the most modern and most humane prison in all of Europe. The first inmates entered on 2010 March 1, and was officially opened use on 2010 April 8th by King Harald V personally. The prison can accommodate 252 people.
Halden Prison is Norway’s second largest and most secure prison but looks more like a post sleepaway camp. In fact, architects say they purposely tried to avoid an “institutional feel.”
Comments from NetEase:
Capitalism truly has TMD gone downhill!
After 30 years of being lost, I have finally found a goal in life: Illegally immigrate to Norway and blow up several buildings.
Everyone let’s go there together, meet in Oslo, I’ll take down names…
Looks like there should be a new internet meme: Go commit crime in Norway!
Those who can’t afford a house, hurry and go commit a crime in Norway! High-end housing is limited, first come first serve, food included…
Unbelievable, a prison being so much better than so many homes in our country, here where we struggle an entire lifetime just for a home, the difference truly is too huge!!
I must make a wish when it is my birthday, to go to Norway. And a long-term residence permit. Live there and never leave…
We have our strengths, let’s not compete with them on this, and instead compete the speed of our high-speed rail. Do they dare compete?
Being kind to the killer is being cruel to the kind innocent people! Norway’s type of so-called “being civilized” is just trampling on the respect for the lives of the kind and innocent!
Norway’s per capita income is in the top three of the world. All of its people enjoy “from the cradle to the grave” super welfare. Average life expectancy is 81 years.
What do you think? Of Halden Prison? If you have been in prison before, what was your experience?
More Photos of Norway’s Halden Prison:
Norwegians. Personals @ chinaSMACK.