My workplace, Halden Prison in Norway, has been called “the world’s most humane prison” by TIME Magazine and The Guardian. Our work focuses on rehabilitating the inmates, and helping them to become better neighbors; almost all of the inmates will one day live as free citizens in society, and we want to prepare them for that.

This year a documentary called “Breaking the Cycle” was broadcast on several tv channels in the world. As of December 1st, 2017, it’s also available on Netflix almost worldwide.

I’d be happy to answer your questions regarding the values, methods and philosophies we use when working with inmates. Helping me out are /u/starkjo and /u/Nordicblue, who directed and produced ”Breaking the Cycle”. They work at the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE.

EDIT: it's now past midnight and we've been online for over 5 hours. We're calling it a day. Thank you very much, we had a blast! /u/Nordicblue and /u/starkjo will keep an eye on this thread after a few hours sleep to see if they can assist in answering unanswered questions. I will myself try to come back and give more answers as well!



Comments: 1430 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

NiDeuxNiMaitre2131 karma

I'm curious if this system is helped a lot by a different culture/mindset that Norwegian people have as a whole about crime/punishment (including prisoners), in Ireland we still tend to have an "us and them" mentality for a lot of people

Do you believe that the Norwegian model of prison systems can be replicated in other parts of the world?

jan_stromnes5733 karma

Yes, definately. I often hear that "this will not work in my country". Have in mind then that Halden prison inmate population consists of approx. 40-45% non-Norwegian inmates - coming from 30-35 different countries. Do we have more "issues" with those coming from other countries? No, we do not. This tells me there is something "universal" about treating people with respect and humanity..

mrcookie09871036 karma

Whats your favourite part of the job?

jan_stromnes2049 karma

I think it is the daily feeling of "doing good" for society.

marc6479778 karma

I saw the title and my first question was is it in Norway!

My question is do you ever feel intimidated/in danger from your inmates?

jan_stromnes1319 karma

Very seldom. Treating people with respect and have a willingness to communicate, reduces tension.

marc6479327 karma

Thanks for your answer, also have you (or your other wardens) been asked to go to other countries to give them advice on how to run an effective prison

jan_stromnes588 karma

We are involved in different Projects within the European Union. Furthermore, Halden prison is involved in a US Criminal Justice Project (based in Caliofornia), that brings over two states every year to see "how we do it" in Norway.

marc6479215 karma

Thank you, also do you see many repeat offenders?

jan_stromnes573 karma

Absolutely, we have them in Norway (and Halden) also. However, reoffending is less likely in Norway and the other Nordic countries, due to our focus on rehabilitation. If I simplify, you might say that reoffending is often connected to those having a drugaddiction that we don't succeed in helping enough.

marc6479164 karma

Do you think that Norwegians (and other Scandinavians) are more law abiding in the first place?

jan_stromnes656 karma

I don't know really. And I am not sure if being law abiding is the right question to begin with. I think the level of crime is partly connected to our up-bringing; Do we have good schools, do we have a good child welfare service, do our children live in caring and functional families, etc. The background to inmates are so "filled with issues" from their younger years.

vanqu1sh_641 karma

Are inmates allowed to, for example, celebrate Christmas? Or is it simply another 'normal' day for them?

jan_stromnes1128 karma

They celebrate Christmas, Easter, New Year, Eid, etc.

goodtimecharliehorse562 karma

You said you're working with two prisons in California. Are these minimum security prisons with primarily non-violent offenders, or are you trying to work with violent gang members as well?

jan_stromnes656 karma

No, I didn't mean that - the project is California-based, but recruits states nationwide. The representatives from the different states, represents/manage all kinds of correctional facilities.

goodtimecharliehorse302 karma

How would you deal with the type of "Fight or die" culture that pulls non-violent offenders into prison gangs for self defense? That issue is pretty much universal in the US prison systems. I've always held that putting a burglar in the general population of a prison with violent lifers just forces the non-violent criminal to evolve into a more dangerous criminal.

jan_stromnes602 karma

We do the same in Norway also, mixing all kinds of offenders together. So why do we not have the same problem, or at least not to the same extent, that the US do? I think the answer is because in our prisons, our officers are together with the inmates at all times - we control the prison environment, not the "high-status" inmates. This is part of what we call "dynamic security", the dialogue and contact between the officers and the inmates.

goodtimecharliehorse151 karma

How do Norwegian sentencing standards compare to US standards? There are so many people in the US prison system that constant monitoring of individual inmates would be cost prohibitive. Wouldn't alternative sentencing for non-violent criminals help ease the burden on the system to allow for that level of supervision? If so, wouldn't it be more economically feasible to work on decreasing the population of mainstream prisons before trying to adopt your techniques? Applying your strategies to overcrowded and racially unbalanced prisons seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse.

jan_stromnes413 karma

Good question. Alternative forms of "inprisonment" have shown very good results in Norway. I am especially thinking about "Electronic bracelet sentence", where you live in your own home, being able to keep your work and social relations. The results are low reoffending and low operational cost for the correctional service, very cost-effective over-all.

starkjo557 karma

Question from /u/whitejaguar:

Hello Mr Strømnes, you are very punctual. Thanks for doing this AMA and also on your cooperation in producing the comparative documentary on penitentiary systems.

My questions rather simple ones; what criticism do you face nationally and internationally about providing this kind of facilities and treatment to convicts/criminals. Do you get to hear a lot stuff what you doing is waste of tax-payer money or just lock them up, throw the key away. And if you collected such data; from which countries do you get the most positive and negative feedback. And do join Fyodor Dostoevsky on the following remark: "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."?

jan_stromnes714 karma

Not much critisism anymore, actually - only some in the beginning. The values, methods, et.c - are the same nationwide, so the reactions initally in Norway was that the facilities was "to nice". Same from some European countries, UK in particular. Later, the interest har been more curious and openminded - from most countries really, I guess it is because they feel we to something right.

goodtimecharliehorse453 karma

How do Norwegian citizens feel about having convicted criminals in the workplace? In the US most companies do a background check on prospective employees and felony convictions are a barrier to employment in many cases. Returning convicted criminals to gainful employment really depends on the culture of the outside world. Lack of employability really restricts a former inmate to a life of crime.

jan_stromnes712 karma

A criminal record might stop you from having certain jobs permanently, or for a period of time, also in Norway. But only these jobs/employers can request that insight into police records, not all employers. So even if there is some stigma of being an "ex-con", there are job opprtunities in Norway. Norway has a low uneployment rate in general, so if you have the right education/et.c - getting a job is abolutely possible.

lfxahab313 karma

What sort of crimes have the majority of inmates committed? Are there particular crimes that make the inmates less likely to be rehabilitated?

jan_stromnes629 karma

Drug-related crimes are on top. In "second place", murders. Third; rapists/sexual offences. Rehabiliating pedophiles (hope I write it correctly...) is difficult.

Pyxistre182 karma

What is an inmate's day-to-day life like at Halden?

jan_stromnes395 karma

In short; All inmates shall be in some kind of activity - every day. The normal routine is getting up in the morning, prepare their own breakfest and lunch, thereafter going to work or school. After work/school, they return to their living unit to have dinner. In the afternoon, there are visits, time in the yard, going to the library/gymnasium/etc. They are locked in their cells from around 20:30 to 07:15 Next morning.

rayster-teeth170 karma

As a student who hopes to work in the US prison system one day, what are small steps that individuals can make to improve life for inmates?

jan_stromnes295 karma

Start treating inmates more humane and with respect, start communicating with them. If you do that, you will shortly see that the interaction changes to a better path, improving life in general for inmates, the staffs working environement, etc.

SecureTheMilkshakes162 karma

What do you think about drug related offences—should the sentences be shortened? The Nordic countries have very strict drug laws, should they become more liberal?

jan_stromnes568 karma

I think that is a political question, so I choose to not have a public opinion.

OhUsernameWoes161 karma

  • Recidivism for first time offenders that are young (e.g. teens) is significantly higher than for older people, at least in Finland from what I've read, do you think that's something that the prison time can address or is it more of an issue of how society at large treats young criminals?
  • Do you know if the recidivism rate between the Nordic countries are similar or not?
  • How do you see repeat offenders overall in Norway? Is it a case of some people simply not being able to work within a society or is it a failure to rehabilitate them.
  • Do you think there are some that are outright happier inside Halden prison than outside (e.g. because it gives them structure and order or something along those lines)?

jan_stromnes293 karma

  1. Good question with no short an easy answer, sorry.
  2. Quite similar.
  3. Yes, we have reoffenders. Some have just chosen this as a way of life (a minority), but I guess most of them are substance abusers we haven't been able to fully rehabilitate.
  4. Yes, especially substance abusers - they live more regular, healthy lives in prison.

Rapsberry124 karma

Quoting the famous question by Bernard Shaw that costed Michael Dukakis his presidency...

Deputy warden, if your wife was raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?

If not, would you favor sending the perpetrator to a prison similar to the one you run, or to a prison similar to those you saw in the US?

jan_stromnes556 karma

  1. No
  2. Similar to the one I run.

It is of course easy to sit here behind my computer and have principles. On a personal level I would have been devistated by such a crime, and it is hard to predict what I would say then - as a private person. But one the same time, a government system's actions and operations can't be based on emotions - but on facts, knowledge, et.c - hence my answers initally.

EnigmaofEternity114 karma

What major influences/incidents in your life led up to you becoming deputy warden of the prison?

jan_stromnes208 karma

As I got older, it just became more and more important to me, what I use my knowledge and competence on - I wanted a position where I could have some positive impact on society - which I have in this position.

todayIact108 karma

  1. What are the psychosocial backgrounds of your prisoners? Is there a common theme?

  2. There have been some American prisons that have used meditation and had impressive outcomes? Is there any such practice there?

  3. How many prisoners are in your prison?

jan_stromnes215 karma

  1. 90% (!) have some kind of mental issue, 60% are substance abusers, a substantial number have had problems (violence, sexual abuse, et.c) i their upbringing, many are without jobs, very low education, et.c The majority of the inmates have issues in many aspects of their life.
  2. Mediation, or restorative justice as we call it, has been used in a number of cases With good results.
  3. Approx. 260. A big prison by Norwegian standard, very small by US standards.... What could argue for hours what is the "best" size, however my experience is that very large prisons is more about "logistics" than rehabiliation.

ADHD_Broductions106 karma

If an inmate gets violent, how are you supposed to handle it? Do the guards usually act according to this policy?

Thank you for being humane. Vi setter pris på det.

jan_stromnes195 karma

First of all, most situations that are evolving, is possible to solve by communication. Since our officers are together with the inmates, they feel any tention early and are able to talk the situation down. In the few cases this is not possible, all officers are trained in the use of "physical power", both on an individual level, as well as a team.

AwSMO98 karma

What is your opinion on capital punishment?

jan_stromnes305 karma

Taking someones life as a reaction to a commited crime, is not an issue on Norway.

AwSMO76 karma

I see - do you personally support it?

jan_stromnes458 karma

To be honest, in my younger years in the armed forces, my opinion was that there was crimes that deserved capital punishment. My opinion has definately changed, and I am now very much against capital punishment.

Jamcak3gaming73 karma

How did a program like this come about, was it at first controversial or was it always accepted as a good idea?

jan_stromnes152 karma

Provided that you mean Halden prison, building the facility was a decision made by the parlament in Norway. The way is was built, was to reflect some of the central principles of the Norwegian correctional services; Humanity and Normality. Some said the first months that is was to "luxurious" - but that critique silenced after a while.

JurijFedorov72 karma

Do you feel like you are, in a way, selling a product at times? Like selling a way to run a prison?

jan_stromnes209 karma

In a way, yes. But I do this, due to several reasons; There are some universal human rights that I think should be respected, also in prisons. Having a humane and rehabilatative approach to corrections, give better results for the inmates regarding reoffending. And finally, having the Nordic approach gives a better and safer working environment for staff.

scxrye61 karma

Is there any system that provides equivalent care for the victim of the crime? For example, if an abusive person got removed from its family, the family's life standard might drop, due to lower income, while the convict's life actually improved by having access to a better equipped facility. Could it happen, that a convict might get the better end of the deal than victim of crime?

jan_stromnes80 karma

It is correct, and a dilemma, than when a person goes to prisons, this may have serious consequences for many People, like his/her children. So the effect that you suggest, may absolutely happen. All prisons in Norway have a "children liason officer", focusing on a different aspect - the childrens needs in keeping up their relations with their mom/dad.

OssusSage41 karma

Hello there! I am a correctional caseworker in the United States, I am very excited to learn more about how to make prisons more humane.

  1. Is there ever a need for solitary confinement? If so, how often is it used and for how long?

  2. What role do case managers play in your prison system?

  3. What are some effective strategies for changing prisoner behaviors for the long term?

  4. What do you find to be most effective in changing a prisoners antisocial beliefs?

  5. How do you create a more humane culture among security staff? Is it training, personalities, or a mixture of both?

jan_stromnes77 karma

  1. Norway doesn't use solitary confinement as in the US. We have "Security cells" where inmates who present a clear danger to themselves, other inmates, or staff - are put. But they stay there just until the situation is calmed downed, normally within 24 hours - where they move back into general population. You don't stay in the Security cell as a punishment, as you do in the US.
  2. We don't have (overloaded) case managers as in the US. Instead every CO also has the role at "Contact officer", which means that he is the primary contact for 2-3 inmates. This role means that the CO discuss the crime with the inmate, discusses the inmates future plan, define together with the inmate what he has to do to reach his goals, puts him in contact with relevant specialists, et.c.
  3. Start building trust - by treating them humanely and with respect. Then you have the basis for talking about change, future, etc.
  4. Complicated question that I think someone with more specialized knowledge should answer.
  5. Management must set clear expectations to staff. Work with the organisational culture, and train the staff in communication skills. Personality is of course very important, and has to be taken into account when recruting to the correctional academy.

alexken242735 karma

Does your prison have a significantly lower reoffending rate compared to the normal prison? Also, how much does it cost per criminal annually?

jan_stromnes87 karma

To be honest, we don't have statistical valid data yet. But we have some data suggesting that we have somewhat lower reoffending rates, than other max security prisons in Norway. But overall, reoffending rates in the Nordic countries are low. Cost per year, per inmates, in Halden prison is about NOK 730.000,- pr year (exluding rental cost of the prison facilities), or approx. USD 90.000,-. Remember that salaries and living cost in Norway is substantially higher than in the US.

SecureTheMilkshakes33 karma

What is the most impact you've had on an inmate's life?

jan_stromnes115 karma

Directly? None, I guess. As a deputy warden, I'm not involved in the day-to-day interaction with inmates. I "only" have a normal and respectful communication with them, when I am walking around in the prison. Halden prison has a motivated and competent staff - correctional officers, works officers, social workers, et.c - and it is them who on a daily basis really creates the "value" and results, in their interaction with the inmates. Not me.

SecureTheMilkshakes31 karma

Would you like to have a more intimate connection with the inmates, or are you content with the interactions you have?

jan_stromnes102 karma

Partly yes, because helping people to change is what motivates me in my work. But on the other hand, in my present job it would be a wrong priority of time, as well as me being more "operational" would have a negative effect on the empowerment of employees that we have in Norway.

njleach27 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA - I loved the documentary on Halden Prison that you made recently.

My questions are

  1. How resource-intensive is Halden compared to say a prison in the US? From looking at the documentary it seems as if there is much less security required in Halden.

  2. How does Halden compare on a cost-per-inmate basis compared to the US?

  3. When will you have datasets available looking at the rates of recidivism for Halden inmates?

  4. What is the post-release supervision like in Norway? Do you have a ‘probation and parole’ equivalent, to help inmates re-integrate into society?

  5. You’ve mentioned the large % of inmates with mental health issues. Do you have a team of psychologists/psychiatrists to assist these inmates? What are the most common mental health issues you come across?

  6. What drugs are most prevalent in Norway?

  7. Does Norway have privately-run prisons such as in the US, or are they all state-run?

  8. Since your visit to prisons in the US, have any of them expressed an interest in trialling a Halden-type model?

Thank you!

jan_stromnes52 karma

  1. I don't have to much figures, but Halden (and Norway) definately have a better staff-inmate ratio. So the yearly operational cost is higher, but gives savings in the lang term. I don't think we have less Security, but we have different types of Security.
  2. Don't know the US figures. Halden figures is given in an earlier question.
  3. New Reseach is being planned in Norway these days, but the directorate of correctional service has decided that only national figures will be publicated, noe results for the individual facilities, unfortunately.
  4. Yes we have.
  5. Yes. In Norway, we have an "import model", meaning that those supplying the services in the "outside world" also supply the services in prison. So in this case it means that the county hospital have a treatment team in the prison. The issues varies a lot, from light anxiety/depression to severe personality dissorders, to autism Spectre issues (like Aspergers), and so on.
  6. My guess - Cannabis and Amfetamin.
  7. All are state-run.
  8. Yes, several states are actually "importing" learning from Norway from a US Criminal Justice Innovation Progamme that we are a partner in.

Idontlikesomepeople25 karma

Is there something that you wish to change with Halden prison in the future, or do you feel that it has achived a "perfect standard"?

Do you have a example of someone that the system worked very well for and came back to society and contributed. Without telling any information that can reveal the person.

Thank you for this AMA.

jan_stromnes50 karma

Yes, we will look into the issue whether inmates can move more freely around the facility - that would further improve the principle of normality that we have in Norway. I asked former inmates from Halden, now being in a low security facility, what they would change - and it was this issue about moving more by themselves between the buildings, that they mentioned.

MelsWhitePubes25 karma

Do you think this kind of prison would work in a place where many free people are forced by economics into a far worse life than what your prison provides? I personally would commit crimes to get put into a prison like yours if I did not have a child too care for.

jan_stromnes48 karma

The prison facilities is built based on normal Norwegian standards, hence building a copy in a less-developed country would probably not be an issue. And have in mind that the facilities is not the most important, but the approach we have towards rehabilitation and how we treat people humanely and respectfully.

I have heard a hundred times that people would "love to commit crimes if they could go to Halden prison". Let me just mention that those inmates that we have coming from countries far away and less developed - they often find it very tough to be in Halden prison. Why? You never get visits from family, and if you don't speak a language that a CO understands (normally English or Norwegian) you will as a general rule be denied the possibility to call home. And you hardly can communicate with your fellow inmates, leaving you in practice very isolated.

Lewstheryn18 karma

What do you do with the guys that eat and throw feces on the Officers who work around them?

jan_stromnes55 karma

We have them from time to time in Halden prison also, and they are of course extremely demanding for the officers. This is not normal human behaviour, so (psyciatric) treatment is essential - and of course good routines for defusing & debriefing staff.

JEThrockmorton13 karma

Do you find that religion/spirituality helps the process?

jan_stromnes33 karma

For some, definately.

FanOfGoodMovies12 karma

Do you use different rehabilitation methods depending on the psychological profile of the prisoner?

For psychopaths who don't care about other people, do you use a reward system to help them maintain non-criminal, socially acceptable behavior?

jan_stromnes22 karma

Based on screenings, interviews and general knowledge among staff about the inmate - different interventions and programmes is "tailormade" for each (inmate). We have no reward system for psychopats.

Imsosadsoveryverysad10 karma

What methods do you see inmates use to help rehabilitate themselves?

Education, Job/Skills Training, Religion, Physical Activity, etc? Combinations of all?

jan_stromnes15 karma

This varies among the inmates, you might say that we try to "tailormade" the effort for all inmates. Screening and interviews form the basis for how we plan the intervention, together with the inmate. In addition to what you mention, I could add; Substance abuse treatment, housing issues, debt counselling, social network, et.c

OhUsernameWoes9 karma

  • What do you look for when hiring staff?
  • Related, how much of the staff was positive to the shift to the more open/humane prison system? Was there internal strife or was it seen as a good change by the staff. You may not personally have been around as an employee during the shift but I assume you have had contact with some of those who were and still are employed from the nineties or earlier though.
  • How well has the infrastructure followed suit in Norway? Halden Prison is a new prison and designed to be less hostile, so to speak, but how well suited are the old prisons? Some of them are in buildings ~100 years old by now so I'd assume they'd aren't as nice to live in as Halden unless there has been extensive renovation work and/or the amounts of inmates in them is decreased from what they had in the past.

jan_stromnes24 karma

  1. The correctional academy (a 2 year fulltime education), recruits people with high school and the right motivation for being a CO.
  2. There was a paradigm shift in the 1990's, where the role of the CO changed are some years with riots and killing of 2 CO's. The service could go in two different directions; Tighten the security, or in a more humane direction. The latter was chosen, and all CO's was trained in the "new role". This was before my time in the service, but I have been told that it took time to get all "on board".
  3. Even though Norway builds new prisons, it is correct that we have many old ones too. However, you do not have to build a new prison, to treat people humanely and with respect. Most of "the good stuff" that gives results comes free of charge, and has more to to with organisational culture and management comitment.

wallingd8 karma

You've mentioned addressing inmate issues as part of success. Can you please expand on what that looks like, particularly in the area of vocational training? I have a friend who is working to establish a foundation to help address inmate vocational needs here in the US. Is there a model you adopted to assess and address needs? Did you create your own? How does that work?

jan_stromnes18 karma

Planning the future of the inmate, is something we start with shortly after arriving in prison. We have different tools regarding screening and interviews - but generally, they are not about estimating risk of reoffending, security risk, et.c. Instead we focus on the inmates needs and his resources. When it comes to vocational training, which is a great path for many inmates, there is a cooperation between the school in the prison (a service delivered by the county) and the correctional service and our workshops. First of all the vocational training being offered, has to be in-line with the demands in the private businesses, second our traning methods, tools and machines has to be updated in order to produce workers for todays Labour market, not yesterdays labour market. I'm sorry if this was a to general answer, I struggle keeping up with the questions...

TEGKDR8 karma

How do you find the patience to help people you know have committed horrible crimes? Do you believe that they are inherently bad or made a bad decision?

jan_stromnes37 karma

Basically, you can look at an inmate in two different ways; You can look at him as a criminal, or a person who has done something criminal. The latter one means that you acknowledge that he (she) is more than his criminal actions, he (she) has needs, resources, dreams - just like any other human being. That again gives you the motivation and possibility to start working with change and a rehabilative approach.

whatsthehappenstance7 karma

How do you feel about the country's maximum sentencing for a mass murder conviction? Anders Breivik is said to be serving only 21 years. He'll be young enough to pull off something like that again. He should be removed from society permanently

jan_stromnes45 karma

Breivik is sentenced to something we call "forvaring", like an open-ended detention. Meaning that if the court find him to still be a threat to society, he can be held in prison beyond the 21 years.

saltnvinegar267 karma

How have you noticed an inmate’s behaviour and outlook on Society change?

jan_stromnes25 karma

I'm not sure if I understand your question correctly - but what I can say, is that we monitor and "screen" inmates when they come to Halden prison - and based on this, we start working with their issues (low education, unemployment, housing issues, substance abuse, et.c, et.c) - and the vast majority leaves Halden prison in a much better "shape" than they came. I don't know if this was an answer.....

saltnvinegar2611 karma

Yeah, that kind of answers it. I guess I’m just wondering if you notice the person go from being in a bad state to being in a better shape than when they came. Is there an inmate in particular that you’ve seen go from being troubled to being rehabilitated?

jan_stromnes21 karma

Oh, absolutely - I have seen that MANY times. It is also a "yes" to your second question, but I don't know if it would be appropriate to go into details.

cheesecake_factory3 karma

What is the saddest thing you have seen?

jan_stromnes8 karma

Difficult question.... I think it has to be how innocent children is impacted by having their dad (or mom) being in prison.

SyndromedGD3 karma

Firstly, I'd like to express an admiration for prison systems like Halden, and as such an appreciation for the work you do - I feel that it is by far both the most effective and humane method to run a prison - no one is inherently evil and/or violent and anyone can be changed with enough patience, and the stats back this up.

Anyway, my question is how would one go about implementing such a system in other countries, for example, here in the UK (Or the US). Would there need to be a slower transition to more humane prisons as to cut gang activity first, or would it be possible to just jump straight from punishment to rehabilitation?

Additionally, how would one go about convincing others of the benefits of a system where the idea of punishment is so deeply entrenched in the culture? I figure this would be the most difficult part of implementation, so I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

jan_stromnes10 karma

Time is running out over here, so here is an answer to your last question; Difficult, but there are different ways of arguing. You could start with human rights - you should treat everybody, even ijnmates, in a humane manner. Period. Secondly - it Works. Treating people respectfully og humanely builds trust between CO's and inmates, creating a plattform for futureplanning and change/rehabilitation. Thirdly, do you care about your staff. The US approach has resulted in a working environment where CO's are overrepresented regarding suicide, PTSD, domestic violence, etc. (There is a lot of research about this). Creating a better relationship between staff and inmates, has a huge impact on the working environement.

FISHneedWATER2 karma

How does your prisons deal with the violent population that refuses to give into the culture established in your prison?

jan_stromnes7 karma

First of all, the majority of the inmates are not violent/dangerous - event though TV programmes love to give that impression. Having said that, there are of course some inmates that need a more secure regime around them, but they have the same rights as other inmates - so it means that we have to allocate more staff to handle those inmates.

jlblessingjr2 karma

How many failed attempts did you experience before a successful method came into place?

jan_stromnes3 karma

The major changes in the Norwegian approach came in two phases. In the 1990's the CO's role was redefined in to a more humane approach establishing what we call the "contact officer". This came after some years with riots and two tragic murders on CO's. Later in 2007-2008, the focus on reahabilation was improved.