Transforming Spaces in Norway’s Prison System, With Are Høidal

In this week's episode, Edwina speaks to Are Høidal, Senior Advisor for the Norwegian Correctional Service. Are has over 30 years’ experience of being a Governor in Norway’s prison system, first in Oslo Prison, and then in internationally renowned Halden Prison for 14 years. Are was heavily involved in the radical transformation of the Norwegian Prison Service in the 1990s, which led to the dramatic reduction in recidivism which now stands at a world leading 20%.


The changes in the 1990s saw the Norwegian prison service professionalise the frontline workforce and radically change their training. Another key element of this was designing prisons to be places of rehabilitation, and to simulate life outside of prison as far as possible. Halden Prison is a prime example of this. Designed to simulate a village, the architecture aims to minimise residents' sense of incarceration, avoid psychological pressures, conflicts, and interpersonal friction, whilst maintaining security.


In this episode Are shares his experience of working in Halden Prison, how the environment differed from Oslo prison, and whether he thinks Halden, despite the international praise it has received, can ever be considered a ‘healing space’. 


Are has written a book, ‘The Norwegian Prison System, Halden Prison and Beyond’. Learn more about his book here.

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This podcast is created and produced by The London Podcast Company

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