In Halden prison in Norway, guards are encouraged to interact, play sports, and eat with the inmates. This is to prevent aggression and create a sense of family. Despite being a maximum security prison, every cell has a flatscreen TV, an en-suite shower and fluffy, white towels.
A maximum-security prison in Uganda has a soccer league (run and played by prisoners), with an annual soccer tournament. The tournament is taken very seriously; they have a uniforms, referees, cleats, and a 30-page constitution. The winning team gets prizes such as soap, sugar, and a goat.
In 2013, a prisoner in Sweden escaped “because he had a toothache and wanted to go to the dentist.” He broke out prison, visited the dentist, and turned himself back in where he received an extra day to his month-long sentence as punishment.
Nutraloaf is a food served in prisons in the United States and Canada to prisoners who have misbehaved. Due to its lack of flavor, it has been banned in several states where food cannot be used as punishment.
At a prison facility in Nuuk, Greenland some inmates reportedly hold the keys to their own cells (to afford them privacy), and others may leave the premises during the day to go to work or school. Perhaps surprisingly, inmates are even allowed to go hunting with rifles to shoot birds and seals.
At Norway’s maximum-security Halden Prison, prisoners are paid 53 kroner ($9) per day to leave their cells, which are equipped with a video game console, mini-fridge, and a window with no bars. Guard stations are tiny and cramped to encourage them to interact with the prisoners.
Brazil will offer inmates in its crowded prison system a novel way to shorten their sentences – cutting four days for every book they read.
Housing a prisoner in California costs $75,560. That’s more than a year at Harvard.
In Texas, prison inmates have to pay $100 a year out of their personal account to see a doctor for a sickness that is not an emergency or a chronic illness. If they don’t have the money, half of all future funds deposited into their account are put towards the debt.
In 1957, in order to rehabilitate convicts, the Woodlake road camp prison in California began an experiment. The project was called “Operation Sleep” and was based on sleep learning program. Inmates heard the soothing voice of a psychiatrist, while they were sleeping.
“Listen, my inner self, remember and obey this creed of life: Live relaxed, completely and utterly relaxed… Love, rule my life. Love God, my family, and others… Have faith… work with others… Face life without fear, be calm, unafraid… Know myself and my faults… live without alcohol… Alcohol is a poison. I do not need alcohol. Abstain with ease. Alcohol is repulsive to me…
I am truly happy. I give my life to my family, to my friends, and to the world. I am filled with love and compassion for all, so help me God.”
Unfortunately, there is little to no data on, whether the experiment reformed criminals. According to the superintendent of the prison, inmates were very cooperative, but they couldn’t know the outcome for sure; until after facing the temptations of freedom again.