Prison Reform

How They Do It In Norway: Scandinavia’s Humane Prisons

Are Hoidal is the Warden at Halden, one of Norway’s highest security prisons. But incarcerated individuals at Halden have freedoms that would be unimaginable in the U.S., like wearing their own clothes, cooking their own meals, and frequent access to communal spaces. In a lecture given at Brown University on April 18, 2016, Warden Hoidal discusses why Norway made such radical changes to their prison system, and what life is like at Halden Prison.

Correcting Corrections/Reinventing Solitary: Can Science Help Fix A Broken U.S. Model?

It is now widely known that the nation has an epidemic of incarceration, significantly driven by the criminalization of mental health and substance use disorders. Major criminal justice reform is now beginning—in the past year alone, several correctional systems have taken concrete steps to change how they approach incarceration, adopting a more responsive and humane approach. These efforts represent real culture change in how we approach the goals of incarceration, including how we use solitary confinement.

This lecture was delivered at Brown University on May 3, 2016 by Nalini Nadkarni, PhD, Professor of Biology at the University of Utah, and Brad Brockmann, JD, MDiv, Executive Director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights. Mr. Brockmann begins the conversation with a review of key changes, including a dramatic reduction in the use of solitary confinement, that have been taking place in states like Colorado and North Dakota, spurred by a recognition that business-as-usual is not working. Dr. Nadkarni then describes her efforts to develop the Sustainability in Prisons Project (SPP), a remarkable, award-winning program that brings science, nature, and sustainable operations into prisons across the country. Inmates receive science education, gain job skills, and contribute to the larger community inside and outside the walls, while increasing prison safety and reducing prison operating costs. SPP led Dr. Nadkarni to create the Blue Room project, which brings nature to solitary confinement and radically reconsiders the role of solitary.