Norway: Bastoy Prison
Five-star resorts have nothing on Bastoy Prison, a secluded correctional facility located off the coast of Norway that offers luscious views, beach excursions, horseback riding lessons, and private cottages - the Scandinavian version of a prison cell. Despite housing individuals convicted of serious crimes – like murder and heroin trafficking - Bastoy's inmates are also granted time for sunbathing, and have meals prepared by personal chefs. Did we mention the saunas and tennis courts? Oh, and the prisoners also hold keys to their own "cells." It may sound more like a country club than a jail, but unfortunately, you still have to commit a crime to gain admission.
Thailand: Prem Central Prison
Rather than getting their sentences reduced for good behavior, inmates of Thailand’s Prem Central Prison have the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of early release by doing the complete opposite: fighting. In a regular charity event organized by Thailand’s Department of Corrections, inmates can choose to battle foreign fighters in Muay Thai prison fight tournaments, in which the winners not only receive a cash prize but also a much sought-after meeting with the warden that can result in reduced sentences. And since, we assume, most Thai prisoners are totally badass and have years of Muay Thai experience, most have a good chance of winning. So next time you get caught having a little too much fun in Bangkok, make sure you know how to beat someone's ass - or be prepared to face a lifetime of misery.
Norway: Halden Prison
Known as the most humane prison in the world, Halden has been described by prisoners and visitors as being both peaceful and relaxing. While it’s not quite the luxurious getaway of Bastoy, the institution is known to punish inmates with tasty food, private bathrooms, personal TVs, a recording studio, and scenic views. Plus, Halden is filled with colored walls and $1 million worth of paintings and light installations intended to offset the negative psychological effects that may result from being incarcerated. So, to recap, if you are a criminal, definitely head over to Norway ASAP.
Scotland: HMP Addiewell
Considering we're still trying to pay off $200K in loans for that useless liberal arts degree we spent five years trying to get, HMP Addiewell prison sounds like a dream. That's because it offers inmates the chance to get a private education, completely free-of-charge. So while Scotland's population of convicted murderers may owe a debt to society, he doesn't owe jack shit to the bank. Which, in an ironic twist, probably makes you mad enough to commit murder.
Photos by Marco Di Lauro / Getty Images