The Fanciest Prisons on Earth

When you think of prisons, your mind tends to go to thoughts of dank cells and rickety bunk beds. A few compounds, however, have surprisingly luxe amenities. Some of these nice prisons are on old college campuses to give the incarcerated a more scholarly feel, and others have “open designs” that allow prisoners to roam freely, work in community gardens, and more or less take care of themselves. On this list, we’ve collected information about some of the fanciest prisons in the world.


  • Bastoy Prison, Norway

    Bastoy Prison, Norway
    Video: YouTube

    This minimum security prison is located on Bastoy Island in the middle of the Oslofjord. It houses slightly over 100 inmates who live in small cottages and work on the prison farm. Sunbathing, in addition to tennis, fishing, and horseback riding are the preferred pastimes of the prisoners.

  • Justice Center Leoben, Austria

    In the Justice Center at Leoben, each prisoner is given a single cell, with a private bathroom, and kitchenette, plus a television. The weight room, basketball court, and outdoor recreation area add to the list of perks and amenities.

  • Sollentuna Prison, Sweden

    Sollentuna Prison, Sweden
    Photo: Ericus Rex / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    This top-of-the-line prison in Sollentuna includes cells with comfortable mattresses and private bathrooms. After prisoners hit the weight room, they can cook dinner in the state-of-the-art kitchen before kicking back and watching TV on the couch.

  • Halden Prison, Norway

    Those held at Norway's Halden Prison can spend time in the library, or get into cooking in their well-stocked kitchen.

  • Morgantown Federal Correctional Institution, West Virginia

    This prison offers classes and even associate’s degrees in things like computer technology and business management.

  • Yankton Federal Prison Camp, South Dakota

    Yankton was formerly a college campus, so prisoners here enjoy bright, airy spaces and dorm rooms converted into libraries and activity centers. Those with good behavior can also volunteer off-site for groups like Habitat for Humanity. The big draw to this prison is the community garden.