🙏 Empowering voices, igniting change: together we can change the system! 

🌍 The European Symposium on Detention Houses brought together diverse perspectives and expertise from across Europe, sharing knowledge about inspirational practices, addressing significant challenges and most of all, fostering a community committed to justice reform. 

The esteemed panel with Caron McCaffrey, Ewelina Dobrowolska, Franc Weerwind, Jan-Erik Sandlie, Karel Dvořák and Paul Van Tigchelt showed that there is political will in Europe to support this system change. 

🇪🇺 Daiana Huber, Jesca Beneder, Malgorzata Kozak and Radu Szekely reminded us of the importance to see detention houses as a shared responsibility of justice, education and employment and encouraged us to look beyond the different ‘silos’, departments or directorates-general we’re working in.

☕ We want to thank Jerry Lie, Stephan Tiele, Zoraya and Jemuel Lampe from Zuivere Koffie, the world’s first prison-based coffee roasters, for their invaluable contribution to this symposium: “People who have lived experience, give them a permanent seat in decision-making. I think we can change the world.” And of course for their amazing coffee!

💡🤝 A warm thank you to Tanja Dejanova, Annie Devos, and Hannah Graham for their thoughtful perspectives on net-widening and for asking critical and essential questions so that detention houses don’t increase the number of incarcerated people: How do we ensure people in the criminal justice can leave the net? And what other nets do we need to support them? 

🏡🌱 Let’s applaud Petra Colpaert, Liz Ayre, Esteve Serna Rosello, and John Docherty for their pioneering efforts in advancing small-scale detention and presenting recommendations from day-to-day practice.

🇧🇪 Last but certainly not least, we are thankful to the Belgian Senate for graciously hosting us and to the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2024 for putting detention houses on the European agenda –  providing a platform for meaningful dialogue and collaboration in the heart of Brussels. To the RESCALED Team and Board for their hard work and to the RESCALED Members for their unwavering commitment to supporting the use of detention houses instead of large prison institutions: THANK YOU!

Let’s keep the momentum strong! 

Get in touch with us and continue the conversation.

Lived experience in the detention house ecosystem

Our societies are under more and more fiscal strain due to increased wages, better healthcare and an ageing population in the Western world. Crime is a significant burden for society both on an economic and social level. The need for a criminal justice system that is both productive and cost-effective will only increase. 

People with lived experience may be exactly what the criminal justice system needs. (Re)habilitation of individuals who offend is probably far less expensive than their reoffending will prove to be. The knowledge of lived experience individuals, who know the criminal justice system from within,  offers a unique understanding of how to make rehabilitation efforts as effective as possible. Building a restorative justice system and a detention house-based system of incarceration will be both humane and cost-effective in the long term. The inclusion of those who know how the system works from personal experience is essential for designing the criminal justice system of the future.

How does one include the lived experience on an individual, service and systemic level? 

To find out how lived experience works best, WayBack conducted interviews with people who work from their background as formerly incarcerated and/or their history of substance abuse. It was important to include both male, female and minority ethnic and religious experiences. Even though women are not a minority group as such, incarcerated women certainly are, and therefore it is useful to emphasize it in this context. In addition to the people involved at Wayback, we also included a formerly incarcerated participant with vast experience in working on the systemic level. For privacy purposes, the participants’ identity was kept anonymous. 

On the individual level 

  • “My main role is being a creator of hope”

The participants believe that working from lived experience gives them credibility towards the incarcerated person that no other social worker can affect. Incarcerated people are often critical of people working in detention facilities, but also in other public offices, and the lived experience provides a base level of trust.

“Prison is oppression. It’s only natural that they are sceptical of those who work in it”

The common background of crime, drugs and incarceration gives the lived experience staff member and the person a natural alliance. If meetings are not bound by certain professional conduct, it provides the possibility to be more direct with both the services and the incarcerated person. The women and other minority participants are even more of the opinion that it is from their shared experiences with incarcerated people that their work becomes effective. The deep stigmas of being a criminal and a woman, a minority ethnicity or a religious minority make it harder for the incarcerated person to be open to help and assistance from people they don’t identify with. 

“Turning-point stories are deficient. There are many factors involved.”

The participants feel that in working from one’s own experience, you must be wary of not using it as a baseline for how others should achieve change. One must also be careful in becoming too much of a friend, both in regards to keeping a professional distance and not being too emotionally involved, in case the person they are assisting fails in their quest for a new life. Moreover, it is important to hold at a distance one’s past and be self-assured in the role of a lived experience staff member. It can be helpful to work from a method, like the WayBackBook, says one participant.

On the service level.

All participants believe that their competence is valued in correctional facilities and have few if any, negative experiences. This might be because of WayBack’s long history in the field and good reputation, and might not apply to all experiences. 

The participants feel that because of the structure of the correctional service and their sometimes excessive focus on security, their work can be more difficult than it needs to be. When an employee from the correctional service is out sick, appointments are cancelled even if this specific employee was not essential for the appointment to be held. In meetings with state and municipal officials or social workers, the participants feel as if their presence is welcomed and that they can be good “translators” and a reassuring presence for the (formerly) incarcerated person.

On the systemic level.

The participants with experience working on structural and systemic levels find that they are met respectfully and that they are compensated for their time in the same way as other experts. Sometimes they do feel that they are supposed to live up to a role that they are not always comfortable with.

“I don’t want ovations for being the girl who quit drugs. I’m not your sad story comeback kid.”

Every so often, the participants perceive that they have little to contribute and that they lack the knowledge to have strong opinions. Understanding the language being used and the concepts and topics discussed can be hard, and combined with feeling like an underdog it can be even harder to ask for explanations. At times, it seems that the meetings they participate in have much talk and little action. In some cases, group discussions have felt close to meaningless, as the subject’s outcome they are involved in discussing seems to have already been decided. It can also feel like people with lived experience are present just for the process to look good on paper, and that makes them feel demoralized for future involvement in systemic work.

Overall, the participants do feel that things are moving in the right direction and that user participation in the correctional field is becoming more valued and relevant. Feeling as if their voice is heard and that their participation has a real impact is rewarding.

The value of punishment?

The participants believe that we as a society need a form of punishment and that restorative processes aren’t always suitable. However, if we are to lock people up it must be done in a fruitful way, with rehabilitation as the focus. Some of the participants had started their process of change while incarcerated and were happy that they had been incarcerated. However, they might have changed their ways at an earlier time if the correctional system had been better suited to helping them achieve said change. Working towards release should start before the serving of the sentence, in pre-mapping the person’s needs and strengths. According to the participants, the time a person is incarcerated can be a golden opportunity during which many will be more able than in their day-to-day lives: to go to appointments with their psychologist, to school or training, or talk through issues in group sessions. 

Detention houses.

Our participants are sceptical of the development towards more and more large-scale prisons in Norway. A system of smaller units that are more in line with the needs of the incarcerated population will better the chances for rehabilitation. They are very critical of the lack of help available for women with traumatic experiences. A large proportion of incarcerated women have had experiences with physical abuse and sexual violations, and require specific treatment and support. The provisions for working with substance use disorders are also far from ideal. All participants feel that a great many incarcerated are kept in an unnecessarily high level of security.

People almost always return from leave, but are still kept in high security”.

Being held in a high-security facility doesn’t aid mental health, and should only be used for those who are regarded as at high risk of fleeing or a danger to others. 

In small-scale detention houses, it is possible to better differentiate and cater to the needs of the incarcerated in terms of support and security level, in collaboration with the local community. To include people with lived experience as staff would be an ideal practice.

From lived experience to lived expertise.

Just as the professional class lacks knowledge of the language of the streets, it can be hard for a person who has spent their life outside the norm to understand the language of professionals. To bridge the gap between them, it’s important to give those who work from lived experience the tools needed to work in the professional realm. This includes learning the language, how services are organized, the structures of power and a good understanding of one’s role. This could be achieved through specialized training, transforming lived experience into lived expertise.

The participant with a vast experience of working on the systemic level had participated in a thorough course that she found very useful, and in having completed this course she was added to a database for user participants. In that, she felt prepared for the work and was also invited into several groups and boards. 

Integrating lived expertise staff in detention houses could act as a bridge between the system and the incarcerated person, and so, make social work easier and more effective. In showing that it is possible to change and creating hope they can have a real impact on those who want to change their lives.

The correctional system of the future.

The prison system is old-fashioned, conservative and to a large degree rooted in religious ideas of penance. Bringing the correctional system into the 21st century must include a more effective way for rehabilitation efforts.

Giving people with lived experience access to, and ideally, employment in a detention house ecosystem will create a good platform for the incarcerated to make a change in their lives, and for an economically viable and humane way forward in our society.

By Simen Iskariot Larsen, lived experience consultant, Wayback Oslo

This article was written as part of the INSPIRE Project on the involvement of formerly incarcerated people. 

“It’s a matter of communication but communication is a matter of feeling”

The journey towards community-integration in the implementation of a detention house


Detention houses are characterized by three principles: small-scale, differentiation and community-integration. Unlocking the keys to community integration in the implementation of a detention house is not just about laying bricks and building walls in a neighbourhood – it is about coherence of communication, collaboration and cohesion with stakeholders and local residents. Creating community integration when implementing a detention house can be a challenge. What is the best strategy? Is there one possible strategy that applies to different countries, each with its own political landscape and cultural characteristics? There is no easy answer to these questions. The answers we do have suggest that the process of community-integration is intrinsically linked to the context and people who make up the community. In this article, we unravel the different processes of implementation seen with detention houses in Belgium, depending on their context and neighbourhood. Manu Pintelon, a criminologist based at VZW De Huizen (RESCALED Belgium Office), has been closely involved in this process. Last month, he sat down with us for an interview. 

Let us start with a bit of background information. Belgium has undergone impressive developments over the last decade: from an idea to concrete plans of the Federal Government to implement detention and transition houses. Can you briefly explain the difference between a transition and a detention house? 

Manu: Transition houses are small-scale facilities where incarcerated people can transfer from 18 months before their conditional release date. This type of facility is well-known in Europe and operates under various terms (e.g. halfway house). Residents often spend the majority of their daytime at work or school in the community and stay in the transition house at night. Staff actively supports them in their reintegration process. In Belgium, there are currently three transition houses: Mechelen (since 2021), Gentbrugge (since 2023) and Leuven (opening in 2024). By 2025, the Ministry of Justice aims to have a capacity of at least 100 places in transition houses. 

Detention houses, on the other hand, can accommodate incarcerated people from the first day of their sentence. The first detention houses in Belgium are set for a target group of people with sentences shorter than 3 years. The first detention house was opened in Kortrijk (2022) and the second in Vorst (2023). By 2025, the Ministry of Justice aims to have 10 detention houses in the country. 

The implementation of detention and transition houses does not come without challenges. In fact, the construction of detention facilities is often heavily contested and resisted by local residents. How has this implementation process been in Belgium? 

Manu: The implementation strategy depends on whether we talk about transition houses versus detention houses. The process differs according to who manages the house. We can deduce one important difference, namely that transition houses involve the community at an early stage, while detention houses tend to involve the community only at a later stage. Transition houses are run by independent organizations, such as the transition house in Leuven which will be run by NGO De Kansenfabriek. These organisations work closely with the local government and sometimes work together to find a suitable building to establish a transition house. They keep the community informed through letters, open meetings and events, making sure that everyone can participate from the beginning. For example, in Leuven, 150 people were invited to a neighbourhood event organized by the transition house management, which included the mayor and people with lived experience.

Detention houses, such as in Kortrijk and Vorst, are managed by the Federal Government and follow a more centralized plan. The locations are chosen based on available buildings after which discussions are started with local authorities. Getting their solid support is key for the successful implementation of these houses. Yet these talks can become more challenging as more details become known and detention houses may face more opposition from neighbours and local authorities who were not part of the earlier discussions. These different strategies point out that the timing of community involvement is important for the acceptance of these housing projects. 

Can you tell us more about who is present at these neighbourhood meetings?

Manu: Definitely. Before the opening of a detention house, the neighbourhood meeting is an important step in creating interaction between the detention house and the community. These neighbourhood meetings bring together a diverse range of individuals, with the people who live in the vicinity as the primary focus. In addition, city councillors, non-profit organizations such as NGO De Huizen, people with lived experience, and street workers or community workers are invited to the meeting. The presence of these social organizations leads to one-on-one conversations that delve deeper into the specific concerns and needs of the community. Central to these discussions is the importance of inviting individuals who embody the essence of the city, who are familiar with the pulse of the city and who are capable of immediate, informed responses – an indispensable role often filled by street workers or community workers. Furthermore, the involvement of the neighbourhood police officer is a crucial component, which promotes understanding and works towards effective integration within the community. This diverse composition of people involved in a neighbourhood meeting underlines the need to include multiple perspectives and local stakeholders when implementing a detention house.

The ‘Not in My Backyard’ or NIMBY Syndrome is defined as an ‘attitude of intense, sometimes emotional and categorical opposition to a project that local residents consider will have negative effects (Sébastien, 2013). Recurring arguments made by the neighbourhood often include rising insecurity, fear of increased crime rates and nuisance, devaluation of property, etc. You have been present at the neighbourhood meetings in various municipalities of Belgium. Have you noticed the NIMBY syndrome among local residents? What are the arguments commonly heard at these neighbourhood meetings?

Manu: Several questions are raised at neighbourhood meetings, including questions about practical issues: a neighbour’s garden overlooking the garden of the detention house, a lack of parking spaces due to increased traffic of visitors and social services, etc. However, questions about safety also arise (How do we ensure safety around the local child care center?) and the possible impact on the value of nearby houses. This last argument is especially common. People are worried about the decrease in the value of their houses. Looking at real-life examples in Oslo (Norway) and Kortrijk (Belgium), there does not seem to be direct evidence for this concern yet. This is, however, an important factor that should be researched and evaluated upon implementation. 

Do you have concrete examples of how to overcome this resistance from local residents? 

Manu: An interesting example of how to deal with resistance and find a solution is Genk. Initially, plans for the detention house were met with resistance as the proposal was to build it on land originally designed as a park. The local government and detention house management have now proposed a compromise: the detention house would provide and maintain a large green space, as well as a vegetable garden, highlighting the community’s desire to preserve the green space while repurposing it for communal and functional use. This could potentially contribute to a decrease in resistance to the detention house. However, it currently remains a proposal. Thus we are curious to see how the situation evolves. 

Another interesting example is Olen. Following plans to implement a detention house in this municipality, locals were invited to visit an existing detention house in another city: Kortrijk. Here the residents had the opportunity to see the detention house in practice, to meet its staff, as well as some of the persons living there. The visit felt successful as it cleared up a lot of questions for the residents of Olen. Many also experienced the visit positively and thus felt more convinced of having a detention house in their own city. 

Have there been cities where the resistance could not be overcome? 

Manu: Yes, I’ll give you an example. The Belgian Minister of Justice wanted to implement a detention house in Zelzate and encountered resistance from the local government. This was partly due to the choice of the building which is a former hotel. The location is commonly used as a venue for events like weddings. For the local community, this meant that they would lose this party venue if it were used as a detention house. The resistance could not be overcome, despite ideas to still use a part of the venue for events and train incarcerated people for catering services.

If I look at the cities more generally… I would say that the implementation passes more easily in larger cities such as Brussels, Antwerp, and Genk. Municipalities which already have facilities with a social purpose (such as drug consumption rooms, a large prison, etc.) also find a better footing.  

While the theory of how to achieve community-integration is important, we can also learn a lot from evaluating the experience of implementation in practice. Have you noticed a difference in acceptance by neighbours a year after opening the detention house in Kortrijk? 

Manu: I agree with you. Practice teaches us a great amount. The very first detention house in Belgium opened in September of 2022, in the city of Kortrijk. Fast-forward to more than a year later: there is an increase in community-integration and appreciation for the facility. The detention house recently did a survey among neighbours on their perspective one year ago and today. The survey entailed questions such as ‘If you are walking past the building in the dark. How did that make you feel one year ago versus today?’. The residents’ answers were recorded and displayed in a short video showing a positive trend in the opinions of neighbours. This video has also been valuable to share at neighbourhood meetings to support the implementation of a new detention house. 

What are some concrete examples of initiatives that can inspire others who are looking to build a meaningful relationship with the local community?

Manu: I like to refer to this quote which was shared with me by Amber Deprez:

“It’s a matter of communication but communication is a matter of feeling”.

This quote suggests that to overcome NIMBY resistance, one must understand the emotions of the community. In addition to conveying information, actions such as volunteering, community events and small gestures can build trust and empathy. I can tell you a bit about the initiatives here in Belgium that contribute to a meaningful relationship between the community and people in a detention house. A common example is a social restaurant which employs people who are (or were formerly) incarcerated. In the city of Kortrijk, the residents of the detention house invited the local community for a pancake sale. The proceeds went to a good cause. It was a successful event and strengthened the relationship with the community. Another example is a project called ‘Mooimakers’. The incarcerated people contribute to the local community by helping keep the streets in the area clean. They also offer services to locals by going grocery shopping for vulnerable people or walking their dogs. At the same time, volunteers from the local community engage through a buddy-project in which they couple up with an incarcerated person, allowing them to spend leisure time together. 

Another initiative I found very valuable came from the Belgian Ministry of Justice. They further support the implementation process through a financial contribution (x amount/incarcerated person/year) to the municipality in which a detention house is to be implemented. This sum is used to appoint a person in the interest of both the local government and the detention house, who helps bridge the gap with the local community: How can the detention house create value for the municipality? Which local organisations should the detention house collaborate with? These are just some of the questions to be answered by this person. 

Thank you for sharing these inspiring initiatives. There is clearly a lot to learn from these developments in Belgium. It makes us hopeful to hear that, despite a natural NIMBY reaction, many neighbours do eventually accept a detention house in their neighbourhood and even manage to see its value. This confirms that building inclusive communities and seeing each other as human beings are universal values that many people tend to acknowledge and appreciate.

Kick-off INSPIRE project

INSPIRE is a project funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. It stands for Incarceration & Social Purpose in Restorative Cities. INSPIRE is a collective learning process about detention houses and the dynamic interaction with their local urban, economic and social context. What are good examples of restorative justice in relation to detention houses? How can a detention house be implemented? How can a detention house finance itself through a social enterprise? And how do we empower and amplify the voice of lived experience throughout the implementation process? Find out more about INSPIRE here 


In March of 2022, a consortium of CSOs came together (De Huizen, Restorative Justice Netherlands, FARAPEJ, RESHAPE and Prison Insider) for the WISH-EU Project. WISH EU stands for Working in Small-Scale Detention Houses in Europe.

This European project, funded by the European Commission, aims to support the implementation of small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated detention houses or facilities in Europe. Throughout the project, members of the CSOs identified and visited over 30 good practices from various European regions that apply one or more of the aforementioned principles. This enabled us to centralize and disseminate the knowledge already in existence about relational security and small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated facilities in Europe

Simultaneously, the WISH-EU Project brought together partners from national networks in multidisciplinary knowledge workspaces on detention houses – platforms for co-creating new knowledge and a network that fosters exchanges among practitioners, policymakers, researchers and individuals with lived experience. At the European level, we organized Learning Labs with participation from over 20 experts, who shared their insights on specific topics related to small-scale forms of detention. 

Building upon this freshly acquired knowledge, we are in the process of developing policy frameworks such as European Rules on the Ecosystem of Detention Houses and European Guidelines on Relational Security.
Find out more here 


This booklet addresses going from Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) to Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) when implementing a small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated detention house. By disseminating examples of good practices from innovative facilities and programmes, advice is formed on how to communicate and overcome resistance. The arguments made can pave a way towards acceptance in a community and should be used in conjunction with other tools during the implementation process. 

Dutch Indiana Bell Building; Small-scale (detention) facilities for youngsters

Last week, the Dutch newspaper NRC[1] headlined “Five small juvenile prisons started as an experiment and are now virtually empty”. As a result of all kinds of developments in the criminal justice chain for young people, a meeting was held on October 3 in De Balie[2], a cultural debate platform. 

In recent years there has been an interesting movement towards small scale detention facilities in the Netherlands when it comes to juveniles. Almost all professionals in the criminal justice chain agree that they no longer want to send youngsters to prisons. So over the past few years plans have been made to close prisons for juveniles and open five small-scale detention facilities. And no, when the facilities are opened, the youngsters could be placed, things seem to take a turn for the worse. Because few youngsters are referred to these small-scale facilities, so there are empty beds in the small-scale facilities and the prisons for youngsters are overcrowded. What is going wrong? 

The architect, Kurt Vonnegut Sr., proposed in 1929 that an eight-story, steel-framed building be relocated to a brick building, which weighed approximately 11,000 tons. In 1930, the Indiana Bell building was turned 90 degrees while everyone inside was still working, in just one month. However, the preparation and planning before the building was moved took a lot longer. 

The process of turning an institution like ‘prison’ into small-scale facilities takes time and, above all, intensive cooperation between all kinds of parties, which must be worked on years before the small-scale facilities should even be opened. Because how do you set up the new work processes and how do you ensure that everyone is aware of this? And who is in charge of the placement process now and who do you want this to be in the future? Who ultimately decides who can go to what kind of small-scale detention facility and based on what criteria? While a judge has a good view of the entire context, the Individual Affairs Service (DIZ) of the Dutch Custodial (prison) Service (DJI) is now the institution that can make the final decision, instead of the judge. This problem has been going on for years. @DJI- Individual Affairs Service why don’t you leave this decision to the courts as this is an important part of the rule of law? What are your concerns? Talk to the professionals about it instead of blocking change that most of the professionals want in the criminal justice system. The fact that DJI is an executive organization that is dependent on politics does not help either. People are never quite sure whether their pilot, or an already established small-scale detention facility can continue, or for how long.

To turn a system from large-scale to small-scale, a dot on the horizon that everyone agrees to is needed and the courage, support and perseverance of politicians and policymakers. The problem that not all places in the small-scale detention facilities are occupied is not only limited to the youth sector. Also in the small-scale detention facilities for adults, the placement procedure is not obvious, so that more beds are empty than necessary. With RESCALED, the European Movement for Small-Scale Detention Houses, we see this same problem also in other countries, the fear of sharing control with other parties. As long as the placement process does not run smoothly and small-scale detention facilities are not used optimally, closing prisons and opening new small-scale detention houses will be futile effort. Politicians and policymakers will then decide after a few years to close the small-scale facilities and build large prisons again. A trend we have been seeing for decades. What does it take to turn the tide and say goodbye to prisons for juvenile and adults for good?

Who is responsible?

Especially when it comes to short-term detention. In the case of adults this means that 80% of the people in prison, so every year 24000 adults, will no longer go to prison. As a result, at least three-quarters of the prisons can be closed in the long term. Instead, renovation is planned for some large prisons. So who is actually in charge and who is responsible? A small-scale detention facility is an essentially different form of deprivation of liberty. The KVJJ is a form of replacement for the deprivation of liberty for youngsters, which means that security and care can be deployed in a more flexible and tailor-made manner. What is going well in a young person’s life can be preserved and stimulated during the period of deprivation of liberty and afterwards. The final decision should therefore not lie with DIZ but with the judges at the courts. If a final decision cannot be made by the judge at the hearing about where a young person should be placed, there will be uncertainty for all parties involved. If all other parties find the small-scale (detention) facility for Juveniles a suitable place for a youngster and this is simply ignored by DJI-DIZ, then this is the justice system itself that is undermining itself. Then DJI-DIZ clearly indicates that it has no confidence in the other organizations working in the criminal justice sector, like the Child Protection Board, the Probation Service, lawyers, judges, the Small-scale (detention) facilities and the Public Prosecution Service, who all believe that someone can and should go to a small-scale (detention) facility.

The Indiana Bell Building was one of the first buildings in the world to be moved in a month. The stunning way the Indiana Bell building was rotated 90 degrees while in operation says a lot about what good preparation can lead to. However, this was not only dependent on the commitment of a person or company. This required dozens of companies and hundreds of people working towards the same goal, relocating the Indiana Bell building. Now there are several organizations, such as the five small-scale (detention) facilities itself, that are fully prepared for youngsters to be placed in their facilities, but they are largely dependent on other organizations and institutions. Hopefully the dot on the horizon from all parties will remain that we will no longer place youngsters – and adults – in prisons in the near future, but only in small-scale (detention) facilities in situations where restriction of freedom is necessary. We are getting close! 

For more information: or email Veronique Aicha



Punishment that makes a difference? 

RESCALED principles practiced in existing Norwegian prisons 

Norway is a long and narrow country situated north in Europe, and has a relatively low population density. There are few public transport links outside of the big cities, occasionally hard weather affecting the driving conditions and long distances between where people live. As a consequence, there is a need for a relatively large number of prisons. At the same time, the proximity principle is one of the most important principles in the Norwegian Correctional Service. It is acknowledged that closeness to one’s family and the community one will return to is vital for the reintegration process. Norway therefore has a long tradition of having many small-scale district prisons.