Life
Inmates in Finland live in 'open prisons' where they learn life skills
More countries should adopt this idea. Amazing!
Eduardo Gaskell
11.19.21

No cell blocks here. Dormitories are what houses these prisoners. And these prisoners have cars. This is a prison where prisoners can study and live a life not so different from ours.

Project Manager, Pia Puolakka, talks about the “normality principle” where prisoners should be treated equally. That means prisoners like Matti have access to services, with rights like other citizens.

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Finland has been the happiest nation in the world for three years.

Citizens get to enjoy universal healthcare, subsidized daycare, and free college tuition. Even prisoners are happy. They’re free to walk around and swim, and even expand their knowledge.

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Matti goes to a nearby university where he studies tech, even completing a course in “Elements of AI”.

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Prison dierctor Tapio Iinatti had this to say,

“There are all kinds of criminals here except sexual offenders, including four with life sentences who are approaching the end of their terms. Prisoners stay with us from six months to two years. The youngest inmates are about 20, the oldest is 79.”

He continued,

“The main idea here is to prepare the inmates for release into the community. It doesn’t make sense for an inmate to be in a closed prison for, say, six years and to suddenly enter civilian life. We also offer rehabilitation for people who have had problems related to alcohol, drugs or mental illness. And in any case, it’s not so easy to be here.”

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Prisoners have paid jobs while staying here. Family overnight stays are even allowed.

Finland understands that incarceration is not the answer when addressing these prisoners. It’s a country that used to have a high incarceration rate but the criminal justice system was re-examined with a new policy drafted.

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A prisoner named Mika tests VR equipment while learning about computers.

“It would be good to get some teaching,” Mika said. “There are prisoners who have been free and come back, and they’ve said very straight that you can’t manage, that everything is so different, everything is so computerized.”

It doesn’t stop there. Finland is investing in infrastructure in what they hope will set the standard for the future. 34 million euros will have priosners living with glass windows and internet connection.

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Hämeenlinna prison is a state of the art prison with creature comforts for its prisoners.

Finland’s open prisons are designed in such a way that prisoners are treated as humanely as possible while providing them jobs and skills needed to be able to rejoin society. And it’s clearly working.

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There is no point in punishing it seems. Finland would rather educate its prisoners while they carry out their sentences. No better way to make use of all that time.

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Just look at Matti, joining meetings and taking interviews like a real corporate employee. In a place with no gates, bars, and locks, you’d think he and the others would try to escape.

Watch and listen to Matti and the others in this impressive facility built by a truly progressive nation!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Eduardo Gaskell
hi@sbly.com
Eduardo Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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