1. Addiewell Prison, Scotland
To some, Addiewell might feel like being locked up in an Ikea. The facility was designed for “learning,” as a place for prisoners to address their offending behavior and what caused their imprisonment in the first place. The learning aspect aims to improve prisoners’ employability prospects, their well-being, and community support networks.
2. Bastøy Prison, Norway
Bastøy is a minimum-security prison on Bastøy Island, Norway, that houses 115 inmates. Originally a prison colony for boys, the facility has been revamped as “the first eco prison in the world.” During their free time, inmates have access to horseback riding, tennis, fishing, and skiing. Recidivism is reported to be around 16%, compared to the European average of about 70%.
3. Leoben Justice Center, Austria
Seems like Austria is the place to be for nonviolent criminals. Inmates at the Leoben Justice Center are given private rooms with a kitchenette, personal bathroom, and a TV. No word on whether or not good behavior earns you a Sega Genesis with Sonic & Knuckles.
4. Al Capone’s cell in Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary
Al Capone spent his time at Eastern State in pretty cushy digs. He had an oriental rug, expensive furniture, and his very own radio. The perks of being a gangster with influence.
5. Sark Prison, Island of Sark in Guernsey
Sark Prison is the smallest prison in the world, able to house but two prisoners at a time. If nothing else, it’s certainly cozy.
6. The Squirrel Cage Jail, Iowa
The Squirrel Cage Jail consisted of a series of narrow, connected, pie-shaped cells. The entire jail could be rotated, meaning a guard wouldn’t have to move to monitor prisoners. The facility closed in 1969, but some claim the prison is haunted.
7. Cereso Chetumal, Mexico
At Cereso Chetumal, there has been no violence in many years. According to warden Victor Terrazes, “When there is a disagreement, we have the inmates involved put on the gloves and get into the boxing ring. After about two rounds the dispute is usually over.” The prison also has an arts and crafts program, where inmates are encouraged to be creative and sell their work to tourists.
8. Sollentuna Prison, Sweden
Inmates at Sollentuna can cook their own meals in a well-equipped kitchen, then exercise the meal off in the prison gym before kicking back and watching some television.
9. ADX Florence, Colorado
The Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado is a supermax facility intended to house the most dangerous criminals. Cells consist of solid, poured concrete so furniture can’t be moved or used to hide dangerous items. Prisoners are kept completely isolated with only a tiny, four-inch slit to gaze out upon the world.
10. Fuhlsbuettel Prison, Germany
Fuhlsbuettel Prison in Hamburg houses long-term inmates, who have private shower stalls in their rooms and couches for lounging. There are even laundry rooms on site.
11. Halden Prison, Norway
Called “the most humane prison” by Time, Halden features multiple kitchens and living rooms, plus jogging trails and a sound studio. Cooking and music classes offered, as well. Only 20% of Norway’s criminals reoffend, compared to 50–60% in the U.K. and U.S.
12. San Pedro Prison, Bolivia
San Pedro isn’t “nice” exactly, but it’s certainly notable. Inmates at the prison have jobs inside the community, buy or rent their accommodation, and often live with their families. Tourism is popular, and savvy inmates can move up into cushier accommodations. Stabbings are somewhat commonplace, but the buildings are a pretty shade of teal, huh?
13. Čachtice Castle
In 1611, Čachtice Castle is where Elizabeth Báthory served out her life sentence for kidnapping, murdering, and bathing in the blood of young girls. If you absolutely must bathe in virgin blood to stay young, make sure you’re Hungarian royalty so you can do your time imprisoned in a castle overlooking a Slovakian nature reserve.
14. Cebu Prison, Philippines
Correctional facilities in the Philippines aren’t generally noted for their luxury, but any prison that choreographs inmates into giant Michael Jackson flash mobs can’t be all bad, right?