Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Planet Friendly Hard Time

Norway has opened the world's first prison based around 'rehabilitating' inmates to live an ecologically friendly life, behind bars and also when they're set free.

Hopefully the new eco-friendly lifestyle will mean reformed killers will also stop killing humans, along with the planet :

The Bastoey Island low security prison uses solar panels for energy, produces most of its own food, recycles everything it can and tries to reduce its carbon footprint.

Justice Minister Knut Storberget said the most important idea behind the "ecologically driven prison" is to develop a sense of responsibility in inmates and prepare them for life outside its non-existent walls.

The prison gained international media attention a few years ago for its living conditions, resembling a summer camp with activities like tennis, horse riding, and even swimming in the summer, when the North Sea waters warm up.

Assistant prison manager Per Eirik Lund said running costs were lower at Bastoey than at more traditional prisons.

Lund said Bastoey tapped grants from environmental bodies to help it produce high-quality food. "Most of the food is used in the kitchen here, but we also sell to other prisons or elsewhere," he said.

Surrounded by beaches and green fields, the prison grounds extend into a nature reserve and are popular with the inmates.

"We are given full freedom within a limited area," Erik, an inmate and hobby carpenter who helped install solar panels, told Reuters. The solar panels cut the prison's electricity needs by up to 70 percent, he said.

Bastoey prison says on its website that its philosophy comes from an old Indian saying: "We don't own nature. We borrow and manage it in our lives, thinking about our descendants."

Whatever works.

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