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Norway’s Eco-Prison

Here’s an island prison that’s about as distant in principle from Alcatraz as is it in location. Bastoey Island, about 45 miles south of Oslo, hosts some of Norway’s worst offenders in what is effectively an eco-village working holiday camp. Instead of the traditional barred cells, prisoners, including murderers, rapists, drug dealers and thieves, live in separate, unlocked houses on the island. Although only one and a half miles from the mainland, prisoners are reluctant to escape, lest they get returned to the typical maximum security unit and lose the privilege of serving their time where they’re learning valuable skills, as well as gaining respect for themselves, each other, and the environment.

The island prison uses solar panels, is almost self-sufficient with food from its own organic garden, and operates a strict recycling system. This is an interesting experiment in eco-therapy — where reconnecting offenders with nature may well also help develop a noble sense of purpose, that in turn helps them reconnect with society.


  1. This is exactly what I was looking for. I am currently a student studying permaculture at my university and I am exploring the idea of what it would take to start a gardening program at the local conservation center that hosts only non-violent offenders. Anyone with any suggestions on how to initiate a program such as this or do an “internship” that covers that type of element would be appreciated.

  2. Hello there I got an good idea why not make all the prisons in the world starting in Norway first. Become recycling centres where you take all the trash from the cities to the prisons the trash is then recycled by the inmates it would do an good deed for the world, And also it would help the inmates pay for their time in prison for example it would help pay for the heating, food, clothes, guards, everything now if you would like more info on this I already have the plan you may contact me at. [email protected] or call me at 270 300 0780 that would be in the USA the full plan is cool I have thougth it all out this is the way it should be

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