No, you’re not looking at an island resort, but rather Bastoy Prison in Norway. It’s the largest low-security prison in Norway, and uses the whole island. The northern part with the beach Nordbukta is even open to the public. Inside, you’ll find shops, a library, an information office, health services, church, school, NAV (government social services), dock w/ferry service (plus its own shipping agency), and even a lighthouse with facilities to for meetings. Continue reading for a video, additional pictures and more information.

The prison is on a 2.6 square kilometre (1 sq mi) island and hosts 115 inmates. Arne Kvernvik-Nilsen, governor of the prison, leads a staff of 69 prison employees. Of this staff, only five employees remain on the island overnight. The prison is about one hour commuting distance from Oslo.

Once a prison colony for young boys, the facility now is trying to become “the first ecological prison in the world”. Reoffending rates have been reported at 16%, compared to a European average of around 70%. Inmates are housed in wooden cottages and work the prison farm. During their free time, inmates have access to horseback riding, fishing, tennis, and cross-country skiing. The only access to the prison is from a ferry that departs from Horten.

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