Short Study Tour: Inmates and Fishing Villages

Trip Start Aug 25, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2007

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Flag of Denmark  ,
Friday, September 14, 2007

This is the only picture you get of the prison.   We weren't allowed to bring cell phones or cameras inside.  Not that they searched us.  They just told us not to and assumed we did.  Anyways, this prison is one of the closed prisons in Denmark.  In open prisons, you have to go to work or school each day which you do outside the prison.  You have to come back to the prison each night.  If not, they send you to closed prison.  Not that it's all that's all about rehabilitation, which according to the woman who talked to us, making life as normal as possible.  Inmates must go to work or school within the prison.  They recieve a paycheck once weekly.  Then, they must cook their own food, do their own laundry and clean their own cells.  At this closed prison, there are young males and all the women who have done crimes serious enough to land here.  Most (over 80%) are immigrants to the country.  Many also are drug users or drug dealers although there may be the occasional murderer.

Speaking of how they don't search people, the biggest problem with the drug users is when their family members just keep bringing them more drugs.

We didn't get a tour of the prison, which kind of sucked but each group got to talk to one of the inmates.  The guy we talked to was originally from Iraq though his parents moved during the Gulf War.  He's serving a sentence of 8 years, 2 of which will be in the closed prison and 6 in an open prison.  He was arrested for possession and dealing of drugs...10 kilos of cocaine to be exact.  I'm not really up on my coke facts, but that's apparently enough to get you a life sentence in the United States.  He also has never even tried any of the drugs.  Also, if he stays on good behavior, he gets out in 4 years.

Obviously there's a lot less crime in this country than usual, but Denmark's prison system, described as "fucking paradise" by the inmate, seems to actually work.  Denmark has half the amount of people per total population in prisons than England.  It also has a much lower rate of people who commit crimes once they are out.  Oh, and I should mention that when Danes speak English, they don't really know you aren't supposed to say things like "fuck" and "god damn it" all the time.  It's almost like in their English books they simply teach you the phrase "fucked up" instead of "messed up" as proper American slang.

After the prison we drove down to Svendborg.  Svendborg is described in most travel books as the place you go to to get a ferry going somewhere else.  When we arrived at about 4pm, the city was closing for the day.  Did I mention it was a Friday night?

We even searched in vain for somewhere to eat before settling on McDonald's.  Actually, it was quite the party as it seemed like half the town was there.

I don't have much to say about Svendborg.  It was cute.  It was really boring.  The next day we drove by a castle that some rich woman in Denmark lives in.  She's like the Paris Hilton of Denmark and everyone gossips about her in the tabloids.  As with many castles (cause the dukes aren't rich enough to keep them running(???)) it's open for tours occasionally.  We just did a quick walk past.  The most amusing part was the castle miniature golf course. 
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