1st Edition

The Norwegian Prison System Halden Prison and Beyond

By Are Høidal, Nina Hanssen Copyright 2023
    130 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    130 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents a comprehensive overview of the Norwegian Correctional Service and the values and principles underlying its operations, using the renowned Halden Prison as a case study. Since its opening in 2010, Halden has been recognized for its uniquely humane treatment of inmates and emphasis on rehabilitation. This book chronicles the lessons learned from the operation of Halden Prison and scrutinizes the effectiveness of its policies. 

    Staff at Halden operate under a notion of “dynamic security,” in which guards circulate around the prison interacting and developing relationships with inmates rather than surveying from a fixed location. Recounted from the perspectives of various actors in the system, and incorporating commentary from international correctional experts, this book sheds light on the effects of the approaches and paradigm shifts that have made Halden different from other prisons. The book presents a balanced picture of how such an approach works, with practical examples of successes and failures. 

    This book contextualizes how and why this example of reform achieved successful outcomes when others failed, and how it can be improved upon in the future. Illuminating new directions for prison reform, it is essential reading for academics and students engaged in the study of criminology, corrections, and penology, as well as practitioners, administrators, judges, policymakers, and advocates. 

    Chapter 1. Trond enters Halden Prison

    Chapter 2. The Scandinavian model

    Chapter 3. The missing link?

    Chapter 4. What is punishment?

    Chapter 5. Dynamic security, contact officers and the principle of normality

    Chapter 6. Quality education for prison officer

    Chapter 7. Who are the prisoners?

    Chapter 8. Recidivism rate – pick a number?

    Chapter 9. The history of the Norwegian correctional system

    Chapter 10. Halden prison: punishment that works – change that lasts!

    Chapter 11. Trond gets a wake-up call in Halden Prison

    Chapter 12. Violent extremism, terrorism and radicalization in the prisons

    Chapter 13. The challenge of mentally ill and the use of isolation in prison – criticism of Norwegian practice

    Chapter 14. Women in Norwegian prisons

    Chapter 15. Trond leaves the prison for the last time

    Chapter 16. Release to freedom – Mind the gap

    Chapter 17. Little Scandinavia and other international collaboration

    Chapter 18. A peek into the future

    Closing remarks


    Are Høidal has worked in the Norwegian Correctional Services for 37 years. He has held various senior positions over the years at all levels in the service, including 11 years as governor of Oslo prison and now governor of Halden prison since 2009. Are Høidal is a graduate in law from the University of Oslo in 1987.

    When taking on the challenge of establishing Halden prison, Mr Høidal used his competence and values to build a correctional organization where rehabilitation within a safe and secure environment was the main focus. Together with a dedicated staff, Mr Høidal has established Halden prison as a beacon in the correctional community, achieving a substantial and continuous interest and respect from a wide range of stakeholders from governments, public service, academics, media and NGOs from around the world.

    Mr Høidal is widely used as a speaker and lecturer in the global community of correctional service. He has held presentations at numerous seminars, forums, expert meetings, and universities around the world and is deeply motivated to share his vision and goal of a humane and effective treatment of inmates. With his 37 years from the practitioner field, he speaks with great credibility about how to combine safety and rehabilitation in the best possible way.

    Nina Hanssen has 37 years of experience of media and communication in Norway and Kenya. She is a motivational speaker, author, journalist and a marathon runner.

    Ms Hanssen has published seven books and is a member of International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). Her interest is positive psychology and flow. She is a motivational speaker in Talerlisten.no and, since 2015, the national leader of APF – the oldest trade union for journalists and editors in Norway. She currently works as a reporter in LO Media.

    "Nina Hanssen and Are Høidal have written a unique book about the well recognized and highly succesful Norwegian correctional services. Unlike almost any other such institution worldwide the Norwegians have managed to implement workable solutions in this field, resulting in positive outcomes otherwise unheard of globally. They have proven that it actually works to try to correct crimnals – rather than just punishing them. The book covers perspectives from both inmates and employees and it will be able to motivate both leaders and employees in the field as well as anybody else who is interested in correctional services. I can highly recommend this very interesting and relevant book".
    Frans Ørsted Andersen, Associate Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark

    "This has become a very central and necessary book. It shows how important it is both for society as a whole and for many individuals that we stick to a humane prison system."
    Jan-Erik Østlie, FriFagbevegelse (translated), https://frifagbevegelse.no/bok-film-og-musikk/den-norske-kriminalomsorgsmodellen-6.158.941567.6ab95e67ba

    '[This] book is so much more than just about prisons and imprisonment; it’s about social justice and the political will to change the way a country might look at offending and its real causes."
    David Abernethy, Governor, HMP Edinburgh