Photo: Der Spiegel
John told us about Norway's luxurious Halden prison before, but that's for common two-bit lawbreakers. Hardened criminals have their own place - actually their own private island that they run themselves:
Located about an hour away from Oslo, Bastoy Prison, if you can even call this place a prison, is located on a scenic island accessible by ferry. The unique philosophy governing this place can be observed from the moment you set foot on the boat, which is manned almost exclusively by inmates. Instead of just trying to make a run for it as soon as they reach the mainland, these hardened criminals greet visitors and help dock the boat. But once you get to the island and see the kind of freedom and resort-like leisure prisoners enjoy at Bastoy, it becomes clear why they wouldn’t want to go anywhere.
This holiday version of Alcatraz has plenty of beaches where inmates actually sunbathe during the warm summer months, plenty of great fishing spots, tennis courts and even a nice relaxing sauna. Instead of tiny cells, the around 115 prisoners on Bastoy Island live in cozy wooden cottages painted in warm colors, and carry the keys to their own quarters so they can come and go as they please. But you know what they don’t have at Bastoy Prison? Armed guards and fences preventing anyone from escaping. And just so we’re clear, the men here have been convicted of serious crimes, ranging from drug trafficking to rape and murder. Still, they enjoy the kind of lifestyle that is just unthinkable anywhere else, and that most people would actually pay for as a vacation.
Oddity Central has more on this gangster's paradise: Link