Opened in 2010, Halden Prison has been called the world’s most humane prison, despite its official status as “maximum security.”
Driving up to the gate, you’d think it was an ordinary maximum-security prison with tough security.
By American standards, the interior looks nothing like a typical prison. There are wooden doors with handles and windows, not metal doors that let little light in.
Such is the philosophy behind the prison: Allow people, even dangerous people, to feel like humans and they’ll behave more civilly than if treated like forces of evil.
At Halden, inmates get similar jobs to those found at minimum security prisons in the US, which may involve dangerous tools. They can also build skills in their down time, such as visiting the prison’s recording studio.
More than 4,700 miles away, meanwhile, there’s ADX Florence, a super-max prison that opened in 1994. It’s widely considered the home of America’s most dangerous criminals.
Each cell is incredibly sparse. Due to the tight security, inmates will try to communicate through the drain pipes or by using sign language through what few windows they have.
They sleep on concrete slabs and get almost no natural light. The intense conditions have earned ADX the nickname the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.”