The Most Humane Prison….
I frequent time.com’s photo essays. The archives are full of great photography on topics that I’m too often ignorant of. Today I came across a photo essay titled: “Inside the World’s Most Humane Prison.” Click on the photo to go to a slide show of photos inside the prison and the essay.
Photo Caption: “To ease the psychological burdens of imprisonment, planners spent roughly $1 million on paintings, photography and light installations. According to a prison informational pamphlet, this mural by Norwegian graffiti artist Dolk “brings a touch of humor to a rather controlled space.” Officials hope the art — along with creative outlets like drawing classes and wood workshops — will give inmates “a sense of being taken seriously.”
The justice system is broken; and I think most will agree. The prison system often does nothing more than contain offenders until they are released to offend again. I think true justice is full of the movement of redemption (how I think about ‘grace’). It is an act of naming and breaking cycles of injustice, and reconciling that which is broken. Some may see these pictures and think: “these prisoners are not being punished, they’re being treated to all the comforts.” But if we really think about it, they’re actually being given the opportunities and the second chances they’ve probably never had. The thing about grace is that it’s not fair. It is given to us even in our offenses…and our repeat offenses…and our over and over and over again offenses. This prison in Norway may be on to something. It seems like the philosophy of this prison is built upon the goals of healing and remaking. This photo essay reminded me of the grace that Jesus offers us sinners. Let me know what you all think of this prison, I’d be interested to know.