Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spotlight on Bastøy Prison

Have you had a chance to check out Ann Pedersen's article on Norway's progressive prison system in the May issue of Viking? This article has already generated some interesting reader feedback, both from those who admire Norway's approach to incarceration and from others who feel this philosophy could never work in the United States. If you've got an opinion to share, I'd love to hear it. Write me at

Viking readers aren't the only ones talking about Norway's prisons. If you'd like to learn more about Bastøy prison, one of the two facilities featured in Pedersen's article, you can watch these reports from Deutsche Welle TV and AlJezeera's English Channel.

While Bastøy today is a model of progressive justice, it hasn't always been the case. If fact, for the first half of the 20th century, Bastøy was home to a notorious bording school for disadvantaged boys. The 2010 film "King of Devil's Island" (Kongen av Bastøy) dramatizes the true story of a violent uprising led by the youth in 1915. The Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, (Norsk Folkemuset) has collaborated with the filmmakers with their current exhibit, called "Bad Boy? Bastøy Boys' Home." If you're in the Oslo area, check it out!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Photo courtesy of Ulf Larsen, Wikimedia Commons.

No comments: