Bastøy Prison: Low Security Brings High Benefits in Norway

The phrase "prison island" conjures a dark and daunting image reinforced by Hollywood movies, Devil's Island or Alcatraz-like destinations, and historical concepts of harsh confinement. But the prison on the island of Bastøy, just south of Oslo, Norway, tells a different story.

Instead, Bastøy paints a softer picture of human ecology, self-discovery, and rehabilitation. The prison system laden with opportunities for inmates to advance in education, work, and social skills has caught the attention of many—and for good reason. Not only do its prisoners graduate with a renewed sense of self-identity and respect, but they also learn to live and thrive as members of a community.