Norway Proves That Treating Prison Inmates As Human Beings Actually Works
BASTOY ISLAND, Norway ― “Prison?” I asked the two deckhands, after a train carried me to the ferry.
“Yes,” said one of the men, rubbing his hands together for warmth. He looked me up and down with arrogant blue eyes. “But sorry, it is only for men.” He laughed. “Come, come, you’re in the right place.”
I looked up at the masthead and noticed that it was crowned by a dead, stuffed swan.
“We found it frozen in a block of ice, years ago,” said the other deckhand. He wore a black ski hat and had a wizened, kindly face.
“It’s creepy-looking,” I said.
“You think so? Our mascot. You are afraid of criminals?” he suddenly asked. Before I could answer, “We are criminals.” I looked into his eyes; they were laughing. Was he kidding?
“Really, we are. Criminals. Are you afraid?”