Beach Walk 490 – Rethinking Prison in Norway

Here is a walk on the University of Hawaii campus in Mānoa, talking about a radical concept for a prison in Norway

Does punishment have to be barbaric or should it include true rehabilitation? Do criminals come out meaner and less civil or more in the typical US prison? This prison in Norway allows its inmates to walk along the beach, to fish, to grow their own food as they learn how to be self-sustaining citizens. They are still in prison – remember – but the goal is not just punishment, it is learning how to be a productive member of society.

Bastoy Prison in Norway

Hawaiian Word:
Hale paʻahao: Prison

Be in Touch!


  1. I think this is a fabulous, visionary innovation, and thank you for letting us know about it. I hope it becomes a powerful model on a global scale.
    To open up another topic:
    I’d like to encourage you to consider doing a show exploring the way that “Pollyanna” is referenced, culturally, as a way of diminishing or apologizing for positive energy. For myself, I believe that you have earned your clear, positive and visionary view of life. It is inspiring and infectious, in the best possible way, and I would love to see you either re-define “Pollyanna” for yourself, or let it go in favor of a more affirming and empowering reference to your unique way of looking at the world. I always loved Pollyanna, myself, by the way…one of my favorite movies as a child 🙂
    I hope you’ll have some fun with this; it’s something I’ve been reflecting on in my own life, i.e. the expectation or fear (from the #2) of being attacked or judged for being too positive, sunny and/or optimistic. When/where/how did we start believing that this was something to apologize for?

  2. Susan and my dog Lexie says

    Hey Rox, I’ll bet the grass at UH felt great on your feet! For lightweight, first timers in prison, it does sound like Norway has a very good idea going.

    Otherwise, I am frustrated enough as a Southern border state citizen to conjure up ideas such as having all hardcore prisoners in the entire US shipped to one large continuous prison facility built along the US/Mexico border. That way, the 700,000+ illegals jumping the fence into the US every year can also jump directly into our prisons! There are 3 prisons in my small town alone, and after four house break-ins through the years, it is the reason why my dog Lexie also shares our lovely abode with our sweet-faced, 24/7 “on patrol” 126# German Shepherd… 🙂

  3. I tend to get wound up when I think of how many people are in prison for non-violent crimes.

    There are some crimes where I don’t think the perpetrators are capable of rehabilitation – they are just not wired that way; so excluding them from the rest of society who plays nicely together is probably the only answer. However, that still doesn’t mean tossing them into a hell hole and warping them even more. Even nice people’s ability for cruelness is shocking at times.

    Green is good – prison or elsewhere. Green can be subjective. If we back up a step or two, then the greenest thing we could do is have less kids. That comment should get me into enough hot water – gotta run! 😉

    Mahalo for another fab show (as always).

  4. Dear Roxanne,

    That is not Pollyanna at all.

    One definition of insanity is repetition the same actions with the expectation of different results, which is what our prison system has been doing.

    Your proposed solution may or may not be the right one, but it is better to try than to continue the insanity.

    dmelliott aka pushy

  5. As usual, fabulous thoughtful comments all of you. The Pollyanna theme is very provocative for me. I do feel a certain desire to explain/justify things, as there are those hard core realists who understand that some people really want to do the bad stuff. But I think they are in the minority, and that most people do bad stuff out of unconscious patterns, or lack of positive experience in the formative years, or not knowing how to deal with stress. That;s the kind of stuff that is exacerbated in American style prisons and mitigated in this Norwegian style.

    And it’s not to say that paying back the debt is off the table – it is part of the rehab process.

    Anyway I shall continue with my positivity and I am grateful for your support!

    Love, Rox