Tuesday, October 23, 2007
we couldn't let such a nice prison burn down
i've heard many stories about the pro-social behavior of prisoners, but here's a fine example from norway, via jonathon tisdall in aftenposten:
We couldn't let such a nice prison burn down," Ronny Stenberg said after he and fellow inmates at Arendal Prison in Fyresdal chose to fight flames rather than run.
"I don't dare think what would have happened if the prisoners themselves hadn't discovered the fire and helped fight it," prison guard Daniel Trollsås told newspaper Agderposten.
When firefighters arrived after about 40 minutes, a prisoner sleeping near the blaze had been pulled out to safety and the fire halted, with damage limited to only one barracks.
In appreciation of the effort, the prison threw a party last Wednesday after the blaze, with Trollsås buying cake and candy for everyone.
"I've done time in a closed prison, I wouldn't wish that on anyone," said Stenberg about the inmates' decision to preserve their prison.
Fyresdal grants prisoners a high degree of personal responsibility, and this program gave the approximately 30 inmates little hesitation in staying to fight for their facility rather than going on the run when the fire broke out.
About 10-12 years ago prisoners took responsibility and saved my life when one of the inmates went completely berserk and tried to kill me. Now I have had another chance to experience that this prison is full of so many good and reasonable people that when things get dangerous, it is the prisoners that take charge," Trollsås told Agderposten.