“It makes all the difference – what people have most of here is time” Skip to content

“It makes all the difference – what people have most of here is time”

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: Screenshot, Vísir.

Contrary to many people’s images of prison life, the inmates of Sogn Prison in South Iceland spend their days working outdoors and are given the opportunity to pursue creative projects in their free time, Vísir reports.

Sogn is defined as an open prison, which means that there are no walls or fences, although inmates must still abide, of course, by clear rules and regulations. There is room for 21 inmates at the facility, but there are currently only 14 people incarcerated at Sogn Prison, all of whom are men. (The prison has accommodations for three women, if necessary.)

Screenshot, Vísir.

During the summer, the inmates’ working responsibilities are varied: they look after for chickens, gathering eggs and caring for baby chicks, they garden in the greenhouse, and oversee a small Arctic char aquaculture operation. In the winter, they have the opportunity to take courses through South Iceland College in nearby Selfoss.

Screenshot, Vísir.

During their free time, the inmates have access to a wide variety of instruments that were donated by the Lions Club of Mosfellsbær and can even work in an on-site recording studio.

“There’s always a group that has musical talent – it’s great,” warden Hróbjartur Eyjólfsson explained to reporters. “It shortens the hours a great deal.”

“It makes all the difference,” Hróbjartur said when asked if it was important to have such a range of activities and pursuits available to inmates at the prison. “What people have most of here is time. It is extremely important to have something you can turn your attention to.”

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