Prison in Norway, two




fjord flagship appearance
tucked eventually sentence (2)
barb in sight barbed-wire
oil rig situated serve a sentence
charge in charge behind bars
cozy release chance (2)
end up humanity incarcerate
task take turn shoulder responsibility
groom approve responsible
bar (2) chainsaw misfortune
penal inmate no matter what
gap key (2) commit a crime
penal effective not worth it
tempt mainland






If you are planning to commit a crime, and then have the misfortune of being caught, Norway seems to be the right sort of place to do it, certainly if you are sent to the country’s flagship prison which could easily mistake for a holiday camp.

Situated on Bastoy Island, on Oslo Fjord, prisoners can walk by the sea or take a swim. They live in shared apartments and there’s no barbed wire or high walls in sight.

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Bastoy Island is located about an hour from the Norwegian capital, tucked inside the Oslo Fjord.

It’s a slice of paradise, featuring one of Norway’s most beautiful beaches.

Martin Raren has been here since May. He used to work on an oil rig, but now he cares for horses on a farm.

Despite appearance, it’s no island vacation: Bastoy is a prison for murders, rapists, drug dealers and other criminals.

Martin: “Once you accept the fact that you have to serve your sentence, it’s a really nice prison. You can be outdoors a lot, in nature.”

“It’s prison…but I’m really happy here.”

Bastoy is an open prison. Martin and his friend Chitil, who are in charge of feeding the cows here, take a bike ride around the island.

They live in a cozy wooden house, free of prison halls, bars or guards. Martin and Chitil stay here with six other inmates.

Each man has his own room, and is free to decorate it as he wishes. Like in other shared accommodation, they take turns cleaning up.

Prison director Arna Nilson prefers this concept. He believes criminals shouldn’t be punished any more than necessary.

Arna Nilson: “We put the focus on inmates. Humanity is the key. We give them the chance to find themselves, develop self-confidence and change their lifestyle.”

Nilson says the prisoners should learn how to shoulder responsibility. And to do that, they are tasked with grooming the animals or working in the organic greenhouse.

Bastoy is home to 112 inmates. Five guards keep watch in the evening.

Jorn Willy Wilhelmsen, Prison Guard: “When I see these guys, they invite me in for a coffee. Then we chat for a bit. It’s not a typical guard-prisoner relationship. Far from it.”

Nilson approves of this. He’s a psychotherapist and his philosophy involves trusting the inmates here — even the one who murdered his own parents and cut them up in pieces.

Arna: “Yes, we had a chainsaw murderer here on the island. Eventually he was allowed to work in the forest with a chainsaw.

That’s how we are here. No matter what you’ve done, you should get a second chance.”

The numbers speak for themselves: only about 10% of inmates commit crimes again after they are released. In comparison, 30% of inmates in closed prisons end up behind bars again.

Norway’s penal system is one of the most liberal in the world.

Hedda Giertsen, Sociologist: “In Norway, the gap between rich and poor is relatively small. And the population isn’t all that large.”

So it’s highly possible that many of us know someone who has committed a crime.”

Martin and Chitil are taking an evening swim after the day’s work is done.

The mainland and freedom don’t seem that far away. One inmate says he is allow 18 days vacation each year to visit the mainland, which is just four kilometers away.

And close enough to swim to.

But Martin and Chitil aren’t tempted to escape. If you did that you’d be locked up. It’s just not worth it. The people here want to get their lives under control.

Even though they are serving a sentence, they feel free. The island prison is step towards a new life.

And it’s affective: Norway has one of the lowest incarceration rates in Europe.

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Criminal, Thief, Robber. Bastoy Prison is in New York city, USA. True or false? Is it in the middle of a wilderness? Describe the Bastoy Prison environment.

Police Officer, Patrol Officer.
Are the convicts in Bastoy Prison corrupt politicians, fraudsters, and money launderers? What kind of inmates are in Bastoy Prison?

Plaintiff, Defendant. Do the inmates mostly sit in their rooms most of the time? Describe their typical day.

Attorneys, Lawyers. The inmates live in typical jail cells or prison cells. Is this right or wrong?

Judge, Jury.
Are the prison guards very strict and mean? Are the prisoners tough and mean?

Correctional Facility, Penitentiary, Prison, Jail.
Describe the philosophy of the Norwegian justice system. What is the philosophy of the Norwegian penal system?

Prison Cell.
Is the penal system pf Norway effective, ineffective or catastrophic?

Prison Courtyard.
The prisoners absolutely hate their prison. Is this correct or wrong?
Have you or your friends ever been in prison or jail? Do you know anyone who has been in prison or jail?

What are prisons in your city like? Describe the prisons in your city.

Parole. I would like to live in a prison (in Norway). Many people in the world would like to live in a (Norwegian) prison. Do you agree?

What do you think about the prison system in Norway? Do you agree with it? Would people in your country favor it?

Halfway House. Do you think the Bastoy Prison the trend for penal systems of the future?

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