Icelandic master chef Úlfar Finnbjörnsson recently held a cooking course for detainees in the rehabilitation ward of Iceland’s maximum security prison Litla-Hraun. The prisoners in that ward are responsible for cooking their own food.
“They said they wanted to learn how to cook something healthy and good,” Finnbjörnsson told Fréttabladid. The course mainly revolved around cooking fish. Finnbjörnsson had also heard that the prisoners were interested in growing their own herbs, so he brought different seeds and sprouts for them.
Finnbjörnsson said there had been a great atmosphere on the rehabilitation ward. “Everyone was so positive and it is obvious that many changes have been made for the better since Margrét Frímannsdóttir [the new prison director] was hired along with other new people.”
Director of the State Prison Administration Páll Winkel said that prisoners at other wards where they are also responsible for cooking their own food will be offered similar courses in the next few weeks.
“One of the key points in helping prisoners to become better people is to teach them the basic points of human capabilities,” Winkel said. “It is therefore important that they cook themselves, clean and take care of themselves to a great extent. Then they are better equipped to be successful after serving their sentence.”