Michel Kapteijns / The Netherlands / 2010 / 56 mins / Norwegian with English subtitles.
Detainees are expected to take responsibility for themselves in Bastøy prison. There are no cells, no cameras and no fences on this prison island in Oslofjord, Norway. The men decide when they shower or train, they are allowed to gamble and to take a refreshing dip in the water - and they work with chainsaws in the woods. The Bastøy approach is couched in the notion that criminals do not become better people if they are given long, punitive sentences. The statistics appear to confirm this: in Western Europe, an average of 60-70% of former convicts reoffend, compared with only 30% recidivism among former Bastøy inmates. Serene views of the surrounding area, with its woods and water, punctuate observational scenes of the detainees as they find their way back into society. Tom works with the cows and is teaching himself to play guitar. Per Inge dealt drugs for 20 years and has lost contact with his family. Calmly and openly, he talks about the difficult times. This prison's philosophy is based on Native American chief Bear Heart's belief that "If you treat a man like an animal, he will become an animal."
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Piera Barzanò (UNODC), Walter Hammerschick (Institute for Legal- und Criminal Sociology), Manfred Nowak (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights and University of Vienna) and Klaus Priechenfried (NEUSTART). Moderation: Anna Müller-Funk (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights and University of Vienna)
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