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1 x 60" / Channel 5

Presented by Ann Widdecombe, this documentary goes behind the walls of one of the most unusual prisons in the world, Halden Prison in Norway. 


In her time as the government’s Justice Minister back in the 1990’s, Ann Widdecombe visited135 prisons in the UK and believes that a prison should be ‘decent but austere’.  It certainly shouldn’t feel like a hotel.


Norway boasts one of the lowest rates of recidivism in the world so Ann is intrigued to find out what they’re doing right and has come to Halden Prison to find out.Built ten years ago as a ground-breaking experiment, Halden Prison was designed to not look or feel like a prison.


With prisoners’ human rights at the core of its philosophy, Halden Prison is the first in the world to host workshops, social workers, a college, a library, a music studio and a restaurant all under one roof.


But while its humane approach has been revered by some, Halden Prison has been accused by others of being too luxurious, especially because it’s a maximum security prison-home to murderers, rapists and paedophiles.


With her knowledge of the UK prison system, Ann spends an eye-opening three days inside Halden as she meets staff, hears inmate’s stories and judges for herself whether the level of luxury in the prison is justified. She even meets a former inmate who was once known as the most dangerous man in Norway.


From rapping in a state-of-the-art music studio to scooting down an underground security tunnel to attending a spiritual retreat, she’s on a quest to discover what the UK could learn from this radical Norwegian system.Baffled by some aspects of the prison and impressed by others, Ann wonders if Halden is the prison of the future or is it just too expensive?​

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