Instead of being only focused on the simple concept of punishment the Danish open prison system is organized around the idea of improving the inmates life. The administration is trying to help the prisoners to find a new or a better place into the society once they'll be set free again. Scholar and professional Education inside or outside the prison are encouraged, treatments for drug addictions are proposed as well as sport and artistic activities. The time of freedom privation is a time for personal and social reconstruction.
To avoid the classical alteration of prisoners private and family relations the Danish administration organizes easy and long visiting times every weekend. The use of mobile phones is also allowed so inmates can preserved their links through their prison term.
The prisoners have to be active. Whatever their chose to work or study, they will receive a salary for it. They leave in groups of 12 inmates each having their one bedroom and a small bathroom. They cook, clean and do the laundry in what becomes their home. Since the autonomy of the prisoners is very developed, the administration needs only one guard and one social worked for 12 prisoners. They leave and eat together with the prisoners. The men in uniforms easily develop friendly relations with the inmates without needing to lose their authority.
The open prisons program is developed in the all of Denmark for pretty much all kinds of felony from the smallest robbery to murder. Most often the inmates have been into a close prison before waiting for their sentence or already spending a part of it. The administration encourages the inmates to go to open prison because the level of recidivisms is much lower and because this system is extremely economic.
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The Jyderup prison's doors are not build to stop the inmates from running away, [...]this jail never suffers any prisoner escape.
At 9AM Bo receives his wife Anna and his 6 month old son Tao. Visits [...]are allowed Friday afternoons as well as Saturdays and Sundays from 9AM to 7PM. Læs mere...↑
They are no visible guards at the door and visitors are not searched when [...]they enter. Room checks and drug test are randomly realized to control the prisoners behavior. Læs mere...↑
Sharing parts of their family life every weekend in the common kitchen and leaving [...]room, prisoners develop different relations than in a normal prison. Læs mere...↑
Everything is made by the management to preserve the family relations during the prison [...]time. The inmates having difficulties after a long separation can stay for the last months of their term into a "family houses". Leaving there with their wife and children in a totally open apartment the prisoners stay seclude by free will and can experiment normal daily family life again. Of course children and wife are totally free to come and go. Læs mere...↑
Bo and Anna conceived the little Tao in the visiting studio of a closed [...]prison during the first part of his sentence. Læs mere...↑
Bo has decided to leave into the drug free zone of the prison. Most [...]inmates chose by free will to come here after they have been into the addictions treatment block where medical and psychological care was given to them. In the other blocks the administration can't totally stop drug smuggling. Læs mere...↑
Jonas has already been in prison several times. Seeing his son growing, he has [...]decided to restart his studies. He wants better chances to find a good work once he'll be free again. The mathematic degree he just received shows his plan has good chances to work.
Behind the bars inmates are protected from their old demons. Going out every third [...]weekend for 54 hours give them a chance to experiment freedom and temptation. Læs mere...↑
Bo has been settled in Jyderup open prison because it is the closest to [...]his apartment. It makes it easy for his wife to visit often. Six month ago, he had the authorization to go out of the jail for being close to her during the labor and the birth of Tao. Læs mere...↑
During the long hours spend together in the prison Bo and Anna prepare their [...]new life after Bo's liberation that will come in half a year. Læs mere...↑
Thomas eats among the prisoners. He is the only guard for 12 inmates.
Thomas only caries a phone in order to be able to call for help [...]if needed.
The safety of the guards and the respect of all the prison rules can only be achieved because the prisoners themselves want it.
Leaving together and sharing everyday's duty the prisoners have the occasion to feel tensions [...]but violence stays rare and contrary to many prisons in the world rapes are quasi inexistent. Læs mere...↑
Jesper has become a friend for some of the inmates. He has enrolled into [...]a post prison program where he regularly follows some old prisoners like a big brother through their first years of freedom. Læs mere...↑
It would be wrong to think that the open prison system works only because [...]it has sweet Scandinavian prisoners. There are murderers, big gangsters and all kinds of people like in any other prison. Læs mere...↑
Danish inmates have to work during their prison time. Many are employed to build [...]and maintain the prison itself. They can work as painters, plumbers, electricians or gardeners like here. Læs mere...↑
The prison has several workshops building goods for the outside market. Jonas has learned [...]the job here and will get out with professional skills.
The workers make lunch and dinner trays for prisoners of other prisons who don't [...]have the possibility to cook themselves. Many of the inmates have strong personalities and making them working well together is not always a easy task. Læs mere...↑
Peter finds the peace he needs in his work. Most of his plantations are [...]used in the prison gardens. Læs mere...↑
A group of teachers are giving classes every day. The use of the internet [...]is open within some limits. Last year a prisoner started a profitable internet scam so the administration had to put more control. Læs mere...↑
When Claus shows up at the gate at 6AM every morning it opens for [...]him so he can jump in his car and go to work. He simply has to be back right after work. The administration encourages the inmates who can find a work or a school outside of the prison. Læs mere...↑
Every Wednesday all the inmates are cueing in the church to get their week [...]salary in cash.
The administration charges the inmates for some of the costs of their staying, so inmates are carefully checking their pay. Many think the prison is charging them too much.
Studying every day Jonas receives money from the administration like if he was working. [...]The wages are lower in prison than outside and the inmates often complain that the prison shop has very high prices for food and essential goods. Læs mere...↑
Each prisoner has his one cell which he can decorate and equipped freely.
It [...]is not rare to see a fridge, a home cinema system, an espresso machine, or a Play Station into a cell. TV network is a standard equipment, specially for foreigners.
Samit has decided to live Denmark as soon as he gets out of jail [...]to go back to Macedonia where he was born. He has tried jails in different countries before and considers the Danish one as the best. Læs mere...↑
All inmates can ask to go out for going to the library, shopping or [...]going to the bank. Almost every day small groups get out to the city for a couple of hours. In the streets of Jyderup, it is impossible to guess which one is the guard. Læs mere...↑
While the rest of the group is shopping with the guard, Kenny stays alone [...]outside. Escaping from a Danish open prison would be the easiest thing in the world, but it almost never happen. The inmates simply have much more to lose than to win by running away. Læs mere...↑
Dan uses some of his time out the prison to check out hunting guns...
The fitness room is open every day after the working hours.
The room is deep into a strong techno music atmosphere but the bodies and [...]the souls are quiet. Læs mere...↑
In this room, on a daily base prisoners happily endure a chosen pain.
To prevent the prisoners to build up too much muscles and become physically dangerous, [...]the Danish administration limits the use of the heaviest weights to one hour a day. Læs mere...↑
"Clean after yourself, consequences are one month of exclusion"
The same kind of rules [...]applied in the rest of the prison prevail in the fitness room.
Some of the drug smuggling inside the prison is actually bodybuilder doping products.
The prison also has a large football field outside but the inmates from the [...]treatment block are not allowed be in contact with the other prisoners to avoid temptation and drug trafficking. Læs mere...↑
Guards and prisoners are playing together without any distinctions.
There is a social worker for each group of 12 inmates. Like the guard he [...]is totally incorporated into the group. The Danish administration likes to say that the man in uniform needs to show psychology together with his authority and the civilian needs to be able to show authority next to his psychological skills. Læs mere...↑
Often the open prisons give an image of easy life that chocks many Danish [...]and they are strong debates inside the society. It is hard for many specially among the victims to accept this system. Læs mere...↑
The Danish open prison doors are psychological. Inmates stay behind them because they have [...]chosen to. At this point of their life it is the best way for them to get a better life.
By providing this system to its prisoners, the Danish society gets much fewer recidivist and makes important financial economies.
At 9:30PM every prisoner is locked inside his room for the night.
Right after the closing of the doors Samit like every other prisoner runs to [...]his mobile phone and starts calling around. Not only mobile phones are allowed into the cells but the administration can provide one to those who don't have any. Of course one prisoner will maybe organize a crime using his phone, but so many others will use it to preserved family and friendship relations. Læs mere...↑
The inmates are now into their cells but the fields are still so close.
[...]Danish prison are like a dream compare to most European or North American one, but they aren't perfect. The Danish administration has been criticized by the European community for its extremely long waiting time before judgment. Most spend that time into closed prison. There life is organized pretty much the same way (working or studying time, one per cell, leaving and cooking together in groups of 12....) but circulation and visits are more restricted and of course there is no time out of the prison allowed.
Beside this work showing some chosen moments into the life of the prisoners, I [...]decided to make a serial of portraits with prisoners. Those images were taken into their cells and I asked them to hold in their hands the most precious item they have.
Jamel the Berbere and his Ipod.