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Iceland: Where Open Prisons Embrace Rehabilitation

Imagine a world where inmates hold the keys to their own cells, freely use phones and the internet, and engage in community activities. Sounds unbelievable, right? But in Iceland, this is the reality of their open prisons. Intrigued? Let’s explore how this unique system works and why Iceland is renowned as one of the safest countries in the world.

Welcome to the Open Prisons of Iceland

In Iceland, the purpose of prisons goes beyond mere confinement; it focuses on rehabilitation and reintegrating individuals into society. Open prisons provide an environment where inmates can work or study while serving their sentences, fostering a sense of community. Remarkably, prisoners hold the keys to their own cells and have the freedom to use phones and the internet. Interaction and re-socialization are key elements, with prisoners and staff sharing activities like meals in the dining room and grocery shopping outside the prison walls. The doors to their rooms are often left unlocked, emphasizing trust and personal responsibility.

Country has Open Prisons
Open Prisons in Iceland

In 2018, a professor of criminology attempted to enter these open prisons and stay with the prisoners. He spent two weeks in the open prisons without any trouble! The professor observed that prisoners and staff do activities together, such as eating in the dining room and getting groceries outside the prisons; because interaction and re-socialization are the keys to this kind of prison. The prisoners could even use the internet and phone in their rooms where they could lock the door by themselves. But most of them leave the doors open!

How Safe is Iceland?

Open Prison in Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland is not only known for its breathtaking landscapes but also for being one of the safest countries worldwide. Picture a place where people feel so secure that they leave their car doors unlocked and even their front doors wide open. With a population of around 350,000 and a remarkably low crime rate, Iceland has maintained a peaceful society, resolving conflicts through non-violent means.

Now that you’ve glimpsed into the fascinating world of Icelandic open prisons and the safety it represents, are you not even more intrigued by this extraordinary island? Iceland offers a multitude of activities and attractions that will leave you in awe. From its stunning natural wonders to its rich cultural heritage, Iceland beckons you to embark on an unforgettable journey.

Join us on the Blue House Blog to delve deeper into the wonders of Iceland, where safety and open prisons coexist harmoniously. Let the curiosity lead you to the adventure of a lifetime!

Inspired by “Empty Jails and Unlocked Doors” written by Jóhann Páll Ástvaldsson for Iceland Review – October/November 2018, published on September 20, 2018.


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