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Justice and Detention Centre

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Josef Hohensinn
location Leoben
function court building, penitentiary
contributed by Oliver_Elser

Architect Josef Hohensinn did not find it all that far-fetched to take home comfort into consideration in his penitentiary design for the new Justice and Detention Centre in Leoben. Façades, layout of spaces, art concept - everything meets the highest Austrian standards. Nevertheless, the building would not deserve further mention if it were not for the underlying structure that delegations from all over the EU come to visit: Austria's show-piece prison. Prisoners in groups up to thirteen are accommodated in a wing of their own and can move freely among the cells and communal spaces. The architect suggested the additional possibility of stepping out for fresh air, so it was agreed that each communal section would have a kind of loggia - surrounded by bars, of course, but the inmates are outdoors. The prisoners also have three courtyards at their disposal, with concrete seating walls meandering through the space, so it would no longer be possible to circle around in a single file.

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Nati 2 says:
Prisons just help penalize the poor. If you are rich and you commit a crime, you get a good lawyer... You go to prison, you learn bad things from the other prisoners and there is no rehabilitation. How about actually teaching job skills, how about teaching social skills and preparing them for the world.... train a person on how to live in their community, provide jobs, stop racial segregation and follow through on things that you promise... c'mon!
Nati says:
Yeesh, you guys sound depressing. It should be about rehabilitation. And whoever is bagging on immigrants.... you are so wrong. Please get some education before you speak. Or better yet, keep you mouth shut. Sometimes it best to keep silent and be thought a fool then to open your mouth and prove them right.
Dandy1ORL says:
Excellent facility, any info on either building or operating costs provided?
Orlando, United States 22-Sep-11
The Incarcerator says:
I haven't read all the comments in here but here's the reality of things.

Prisons in the US do not work - PERIOD!
All criminals should be sent to this prison or be killed.
The reason that this type of prisons work in Europe is because they do not have the problems the US has - IMMIGRATION - the US has a zillion of different culture individuals that get beat up unless they unite with their kind and what comes out of it is the failures the US has for a prison system.

Although to be honest, the failure begins when the US allows these immigrants to stay illegally and once they "become" legal, they get to vote for the the same ignorants (Obama), that they voted for in their native countries and were the reasons they ran from their land to begin with.
Voting rights should be like the Driver License - a privilege - it is beyond me how some ignorant that can't even speak English is allowed to vote but to drive he must pass an eye, written and driving test!!!
America is doomed thanks to many probems, this being one of them and the Chinese are taking over.

And although Europe does have the Muslim plague, truth be told, those camel-jockey-douche-bags rather kill themselves than go to prison.
lsv says:
The prison system we have in the US doesn't work. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I have an idea.......if American prisons are so bas as people seem to think they are let us send all our prisoners to EUROPE and let them show us how it is done!
Jacksonville, United States 09-Jul-11
NoCrud says:
What a relief to see all these Criminal Experts commenting here. However, those Experts may well be experts on protecting the sensibilities of criminals. Regardless, when societies ignore crime and write them off as people being affected by that same society, guess who is being snookered?
09-Jul-11 says:
The main difference between America and other countries' penal systems is that what will get you locked up in America doesn't even raise an eyebrow in Austria, Holland, etc. Prostitution and certain drugs are not legal in most parts of America...whereas other countries deal with those issues differently.
Lowie says:
USA .... Harsh prisons? Much more crime than Europe? No, YOU think! USA is awash in lawless, godless minorities of a certain demographic identification. Add to that an infestation of the criminals and dregs of a neighboring country here illegally, here largely to commit crimes. They constitute the majority of the prison population. So, what's Austria overwhelmed with???
iggy says:
very glad to see sherriff joe treats criminals like they should be treated. and he has a low return rate you idiots. lets make em comfortable so they have a nice place to return to. get a life u whiners. and guns are our constitutional right and anyone tring to change the constitution should be put in that nice prison u so dearly speak of !!!!!!!!!!!
Rev Scott Lee says:
I am an American who came to this page from I am not one of the neanderthals that have been posting from America. The mandate of the U.S. prison system was originally to rehabilitate and return the criminals to a place of productivity. Since then, however, our system has devolved into punitive warehousing of drug users, the mentally ill, and the chronically poor and underclasses. This is a social issue that has only been exacerbated by our country's ineffectual and massively overpriced "war on drugs" combined with our country's ludicrous insistence on allowing the "gun culture" to expand and permeate every corner of society.

The War on Drugs

Even so, we in the States could learn a few things from the Continental prison systems. Treating inmates like human beings and not as monetized animals would be a great first step. Someone mentioned looking up Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. I recommend that wholeheartedly -- if for a different reason. Here's an example of what this man has done to Maricop County, Arizona:

This is where the poor prisoners get to stay, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365/366 days a year --


Joe Arpaio fact sheet
The latest lawsuits against Joe Arpaio
FBI Investigation into Joe Arpaio
From JAKARTA -- Far Away From Home

Compare what Joe Arpaio is holding up as an effective form of incarceration with the humane treatment of inmates in Leoben at this facility.

Which do you think will produce a more well-adjusted ex-convict?
-_- says:
to all of those people that are saying that this isn't a good idea for a prison PLEASE think. I implore you please for your own sake do that you don't look like an idiot. Don't just troll and say things. Think for yourself. this might be the individualistic in me but still... I'm sorry to all of those people who are not american talking about this and have to endure this stupid dead horse beating. Yes this prison is built and we can see that you don't think that people should be treated well for doing bad things,but they AREN'T. The ignorant people that are tying that don't understand that not all prisons work the same way in other countries. Just because its not a 3rd world country doesn't mean that we Americans have to tell them how to run the place. if you disagree don't keep saying that we have to change this, answer the question that if the prisons in america are so ugly, mean and almost inhumane then why is the prison rate so high? If you cant answer that question the don't keep saying that this is a bad idea or a bad thing. No matter how we see it, its working.
jiggler says:
You may be receiving a lot of ignorant American comments because of this
Wouter says:
Its funny how all those americans posting here that this is scandalous, waste of tax-payer money, that criminals should be punished harshly....they all conveniently forget the fact that its the USA that has the most prisoners in the world.

And its the USA that has extremely harsh prison sentences and prison conditions.

In most of Europe, including Austria, there is relatively little crime, few prisoners, and the prisons are of high quality, maybe not as good as this one, but still very good on average.

Now, please take a moment to do the math.

USA = harsh punishments & bad prisons = Extremely high amount of prisoners & crime

EU = soft punishments & great prisons = Very low amount of prisoners & crime

Seriously. Do the math.

The things alot of you are advocating in the comments below have been tried for CENTURIES. If these measures had actually helped, crime and prisoners in the USA should be very low right now. They arent.

Harsh punishments and bad prisons do not help.
Owen says:
why does everyone believe in giving people a second chance, some people dont deserve a second chance, apart from the properly educated of course. what a load of bull...
Will says:
very well designed
Jerry says:
How much does it cost to rent a room there?
KTT says:
Well thankfully we haven't quite got to this stage. This is actually not in Chicago, but is in Leoben Austria. Read a bunch of comments. Bottom line, prison is a punishment and should not have luxuries. The building could be pleasing to look at on the outside but the "pretty" inside parts should only be the offices. You can have decent looking functional areas without the frou-frou design that will not be depressing to the guards or other employees. There are some bad officers in every state. If we could catch them they deserve nothing less than other criminals. A major problem is like an ex-inmate said, once you have a record you can't get a job so you're right back to stealing to just survive. Hate to say I agree with that. The few, very few in my opinion, that do change have a extremely slim chance of landing a decent paying job on the outside. There needs to be something done with the system that would pair the education of the inmates with jobs waiting for them that they will have to do for X amount of time to pay back for the education. Sort of like the military. If you volunteer it's for a certain number of years. You get to go back to school afterwards with help on tuition payments but you have to have a job for all your regular expenses. If the inmates had to stay in the job they got training for, for a designated time before going out on their own, it should be seen as change in that person. He served his time in prison, and then served more "time" demonstrating he could be a productive citizen. The ones that fail to complete the obligation, or fall back on old habits, deserve the life they made for themselves. And if they are caught, no more chances, that's it, NO appeals, NO "I'll do better next time", NO "I really thought I could do that", NO ANYTHING!!!! You are a criminal and will be a criminal FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!!! I think all prisons should have to supply their own food so there would be fields to work, livestock to tend, food processing areas and the only ones WORKING are the inmates. Don't know if prisons still have the things like making license plates but they need things like that in every single one. The inmates could be rotated on the different areas so they know all the jobs to keep the prison running. Guards are there to supervise and control. If they are hardened criminals they could still work with electronic trackers when in the fields or other out-of-doors jobs. No torture and sufficient rest breaks with plenty of water, but a full days work like free citizens have to do. They have free medical, no rent/house payment, no utilities, no insurance payments, no vehicle upkeep, NO TAXES, all in all a pretty easy life. Their choice, they either take the education and turn their lives around, or stay a laborer for the rest of their lives.
Barbara Parker says:
I am moving to Austria (from America), robbing the first bank I can find (with a banana) and coming to live in this prison.

Right now my car is being repossessed, my rent is late, so I will have to go live on the street now and I have no benefits and no handouts, and no help.

I am just another forgotten veteran down on her luck and all my government says to me is, "Tough Stuff"!

You guys in Austria really know how to teat a career criminal! Whoo Hoo!
Disgusted citizen says:
I think prison life, no matter what country, should be a punishment like it is intended to be. Lets see.....I don't get free exercise equipment, free tv (cable or satellite), free food, a free education, etc, and I'm a hard working, productive citizen. I imagine the hard working, productive citizens of Austria don't get all these amenities either. When you were raising your kids and they did something wrong, what was their punishment? I doubt you said 'ok jimmy, you stole from the store, so I'm going to give you ice cream, let you play video games all day, and stay up as late as you want and go to the school football game on friday.' Come on people! Prison is supposed to be a punishment!
Jt says:
Do prisons have to be ugly and expensive-to-illuminate? remember 'state' employees work there too.
Claire says:
And in response to Ed - When people commit crime then they need to know that their rights will be severely compromised as a consequence of their actions. Maybe being tough on prisoners will force them to somehow make changes to their life outside prison (however tough this may be) to ensure they will not end up in prison again.
Claire says:
This is absolutely ridiculous! Why is it that society increasingly appears to favour those that do wrong and by doing so punishes those that work hard and play by the rules. This prison is certainly not a punishment - there is no deterant. If those that commit crime knew that they would be forced to live without luxuries, which people should have to EARN, then perhaps they would think think twice!
Russ in MO says:
Who is going to clean up the blood from all these bleeding hearts. Google Sheriff Arpaio for how all prisoners should be treated.
Naomi says:

Amsterdam, Netherlands 15-Sep-09
scott says:
what the hell?... my dorm room in the airforce wasnt this nice and i was being a productive part of society.
Ed says:
While I agree with some of these comments, I disagree with most. Many people that claim these wild statistics and use abnormal vocabulary are harping on the idea that prison should fit to THEIR standards. Who of any of us has the right to say what luxuries or lack there of should be available in a prison? I surely will not be raising my hand to demand what a person (Who I have most likely never met, nor have I learned of their history and what caused them to be "criminal") should be treated like in prison. If you are raised in a community that allows for sub-standard education, pre-mature parenthood and "thug-life" aspirations, then you are brainwashed into a mindset that will surely end with your incarceration. Those young people, who deserve a second chance and deserve the right to be re-educated, why not send them to a place like this? Teach them what society is really like, and what society can benefit from having them as upstanding citizens?
More info:
La Coruña, Spain 14-Aug-09
bigestmac says:
thank goodness the majority of us are not as naive as debbie, with all the hugs & love approaches to dealing with criminal offenders. That philosphy only begets more crime, and more dead victims. This prison was represented to me as being in Chicago, Illinois, but my nephew found the truth. Just because a person is jailed for a crime doesn't mean he has to suffer humiliation. the idea berhind incarceration, besides protecting the general public, should be to modify behavior so the offender likely won't re-offend. I found the photo tour and text escribing this prison to be refreshing. While I am not by any stretch any kind of liberal, I understand the need for decent environments in which to effect behavioral change. Lack of education, lack of self esteem, abusive upbringing, all are just a few of the causes of crime, beyond greed. Inmates should find the prison experience much more unpleasant than their perceived benefits of criminal behavior. But incarceration and restriction of freedom goes a long way to that goal. There is nothing wrong with clean, modern environs in a prison, and what I can see of the execution of this aorochitecture, this prison is a model for prison facilities any where in the world. My first 6 months of my 29 years in law enforcement was working in an old county jail housing 500-600 inmates. And I never got over the pucker when the sallyport slammed shut to allowe me to pass onto the detention decks to begin my shift.
KETTLE fALLS, wa.., United States 03-Aug-09
Define crime please says:
What do you choose as punishment depends on what you define as crime, and how you plan to correct behaviour that deviates just too far from where most of us operate. It's not just a case of being "tough" or "soft", "hard-core" or "serial", "white collar" or "poverty-driven". These are people, and come in every variation you could imagine.

If you can't work out how you can be successful every time with your detainees, and get their HUMAN life back on track, then you shouldn't presume to play God and take any of their existence from them. All of us only get so many minutes of life that shouldn't be wasted, especially at the hands of a "justice" system - those with off-beam behaviour are no different.
Ghastly says:
Whatever you say about prisons I find the architecture just ghastly and wouldn't rent an apartment in a building that looked like this.
For me it WOULD be punishment.
DS says:
Europe is becoming a lot more civilized than the US. It is very sad that the homeland of Hitler has lesser crime and treats their inmates better than "the land of the free". All the US has been doing in the Bush era is antagonize the world and murder people. Glad they got a president with brain now.
John says:
Prisons should be humane environments that teach responsible social behavior rather than gang violence.
They should also be tough and demanding, so that inmates work 60 hours a week and spend their free time learning instead of watching TV, lifting weights, and sitting around the yard.

The problem with American prisons is that they are both inhumane and too lenient. They antagonize and bore the inmates into bad behavior, and give them no productive alternatives. At $50,000 a year per inmate, this is a very expensive way to make bad people worse.

More humane and more demanding: this is what it takes to reduce the rate of reoffending (which is 67% in the US now). And incarceration is just one part of the cost of crime. Whatever we do to make prisons more effective will be well worth the cost.
Scott says:
The United States has more prisoners (by number or per capita) than any other nation on earth. Yet, despite the "get tough" tactics we have a very high crime rate.

We just lied to start an illegal war that killed a million innocent civilians over WMD they didn't even have. We need constant infusions of cash to keep paying for the wars and the interest on our massive debt, and our economy is on the brink of collapse.

Do you really think the Austrians care what we think??
sugarfree says:
Redman, did you seriously just quote crime stats for Austria *during the Cold War*? I'm sure that's entirely relevant to Austria today.

Here's a more relevant link:

"The crime rate in Austria is among the lowest compared to other industrialized countries. Acts of violent crime occur on an infrequent basis and are rarely directed specifically against American visitors. The number of murders for Austria (pop. 8,000,000) was approximately 60 in 2007."
CatheeCG says:
CT....I agree 100%.... i told my hub that we should move 2 Austria, rob a bank, go directly 2 the ski slopes, then 2 our beautiful new home! LOL
But seriously... prisoners should actually hate where they reside so they really think about y they're there, & rehabilitate so once they r out they will appreciate it & perhaps not wind up in prison again... If it's so nice.... what's the big deal? I think this will RAISE the crime rate, not lower it!!
Tuxedo, United States 15-Apr-09
CathyCG says:
My thought exactly, CT...
I just emailed my hub & said I wanted 2 move 2 Austria, do something REALLY bad, head directly 2 the ski slopes & then our beautiful new home!
Seriously tho, prisoners need 2 suffer w/less
to appreciate & reform after they get out. The building IS lovely, but not 4 it's intended purpose.
Engineering student says:
I've had a tour of the prison and the entrance of the courthouse and I can tell you that the prison aint as luxerious as you might think. It aint like an american prison but an european prison, keep that in mind.
redman says:
Resourceful did you even read the information that you are linking to.. it does not say "Crime rates in Austria and Sweden have plummeted thanks to these logical rehabilitation methods." Here is a quote from it that you apparently didn't notice..
"The rate of total index offenses increased from 2651.45 to 3126.32, an increase of 17.9%. "

It also says "The penal system in Austria includes seven penitentiaries (Garsten, Graz, Hertenberg, Schwarzau, Stein, Suben, and ViennaSimmering ); three institutions of justice; two special institutions; and eighteen jails at the seats of courts of first instance. In spite of the rising crime rate, the prison population fell steadily from 7,795 in 1987 to 5,975 at the end of 1989."

Looks to me like the court system is what needs help.
Resourceful says:
Maybe some of you should do some research before shooting your mouth off about foreign penitentiaries.

Crime rates in Austria and Sweden have plummeted thanks to these logical rehabilitation methods. Inmates who are treated like garbage, put into an inhumane environment will only act the same when they get out.
\"You are your environment\"
Dean says:
There are points on both sides to be taken here, albeit some more deserving of note than others. In my opinion, the dollars would have been better spent on additional programs for youth offenders or on big brother type programs that show kids there is an alternate and better way to approach life. The prison itself should be both a punishment for the crime already committed and a place of rehabilitation to prepare them for re-entry into society after their sentence has been served. Therefore, the accomodations should be meager, but the programs better. Television is a luxury that should not be allowed in prison. Access to books and games that generate thought is a more productive use of resources since they evoke introspection. Counseling and education is a must as well. I am ok with color on the walls, etc because institutional white is not condusive to a good mental state either. Plenty of access to sunlight is ok too. They should also have communal showering facilities to save cost, but rather than having a room it should consist of several shower closets and only one person should be allowed in each shower at a time with them rotating on shifts. The whole rape issue or even concentual acts between inmates needs to stop. In the first case, because it is abusive and not good for rehabilitation pruposes if it is an unwelcomed act. In the second case, because it should not be a benefit to those who enjoy it. The rooms should be single occupant, very small, with no TV, books allowed, phone calls 1x per week, etc. This reminds them of what their actions have denied them, and still gives them a taste of what they want...their freedom back.

For the record, I am also a Christian. Someone mentioned that negative comments about the facility meant you must not be a Christian. My God is a God of Mercy AND Justice. Mercy does not mean forgive everyone of everything with no consequence. We are to be merciful in that process though. God showed mercy on Sodom and Gomorrah when Abraham pleaded that God spare the city due to it's wicked ways. God said that if he could find 10 righteous men, that he would spare the city. Abraham and Lot could not. So God allowed Lot to flee, but the city was detroyed with fire. That is justice.
Ticked off says:
I think it's sad that there are families out here busting their butts to feed, clothe, take to the doctor/dentist, shelter and educate their children or themselves and can't do it or get help because they make a few dollars too much. They don't get luxuries or privileges like most people but they live honest and work hard. Meanwhile a murderer, rapist, child molester, thief etc.... lives it up in prison with 3 hot meals, cable, a/c, schooling, medical and dental care etc. Sounds like justice to me the innocent suffer and do without to provide the guilty with what they (the innocent) should be getting instead. Feed the prisoners pintos or bologna sandwiches. Make them work to pay for schooling, medical and dental care. Prison isn't a punishment anymore it seems like a reward!!! It comes across that society is paying criminals to take innocent lives and devastate a family so they can live the high life! What a world we live in today.
LMAO - Sacramento CA says:
To Former Inmate... you missed one vital comment. The prison system or it's ridiculously named "private" owners did not force you to commit a crime. oh that's right... you're innocent, hence deserving of such gracious prison accommodations. Please.... get a life. And I'm not referring to a sentence.
charity says:
many of our prisons are in horrible conditions with poor security and bad architecture. If this is the appropriate way of life for the inmate then why are so many of them getting hurt and killed, why are so many coming back. I'm not saying that they deserve a 5 star hotel, but if you life in a crappy place with poor lighting and paint chipps...are you supposed to be inspired ...are you supposed to find the right? live miserably and feel nothing will ever go right for feel desperate, angry, sad, and maybe violent. For some this is too similar to what they are used to on the streets. They see the familiar they aren't aspired, and in most cases they don't change. We should strive to do what ever we can to help people see the good in the world...after all that could be your daugher or father... People behaive the way they do because of what they've seen, done, or not seen or done ( or mental issues). Prison should be rehabilitation, not a crappy rat hole.
charity says:
We have been told since the beginng of time that if you do the crime you pay the time. The thing we need to keep in mind is what brings so many of our children and adults to commit crimes in the first place? Programs need to be initiated to show those (especially those who grow up around poor influence, and with no one who provides a child someone good to look up to) that there is a better or alternate way than crime to get the luxuries of life. We also need to treat those in prisons, and provide the programs, security, and love needed to make them less theatening once they leave the justice system. If you treat them harshly, allow inmate violence, don't treat mental or psycological problems, don't give them something positive to do in prison or put in their hands something to aspire to, and act like you don't give a @#$3 then once they leave they are more likely to have not learned anything, and in turn would end up a more hardened criminal than before (not to mention they would end up back in the same place or wores-dead) ....THAT IS NOT WHAT AHY OF US WANT!!
lols were had
A former "inmate" says:
I think people who make these comments about how shabby a prison should look in order to give a prisoner reciprocal treatment for his crime is missing a vital point. Prisons are not designed for the purpose of rehabilitation. The real purpose of prison is to make money, hence the name "prison INDUSTRIAL complex," and it does this utilizing sweat equity of virtual slaves. Period point blank, prisons make money for PRIVATE owners who take away jobs from the average citizen who used to take home paychecks with benefits and give these jobs to men and women who get paid less than a Nike factory worker or a Taco Bell tomato picker. This form of "rehabilitation" is actually what perpetuates the criminal mentality once prisoner is set free. Once a person comes out of jail and looks for a job and is denied a million times over, what do you think is gonna be the first thing he/she does if they lose hope, or their family and friends are pressuring them get on their feet, or they just can't cope with the pressure of having to start life over again? Their original reason for being incarcerated is also a reality that most "law abiding citizens" don't have a clue about; you know the same citizens who cheat on their taxes, commit Enron scandals, drive down the highway at 80 miles an hour trying to get to work on time, or who hang nooses from trees in Louisiana School yards and pull out shotguns on young African American children attempting to defend themselves, yet the same African American children are charged with attempted murder and a shoe is the so called weapon of choice. Aren't nooses and shotguns real weapons. Am I saying that most, or at best many, "criminals" are in jail for no reason? No, that's not my implication. However, wake up one day and receive false imprisonment for being caught in traffic in Atlanta, GA during freaknic 1998, have an officer ask you to get out of your car, have the officer grab you by your belt and walk you down the street to a group of "assaulted" police officers, and have one of the police officers immediately say that you were one of the "CULPRITS" that assaulted them, even though you were no where near the so called scene of the crime. Then when you are detained in the patty wagon, another "CULPRIT" is in the van with you, and he identifies the fact that the "assaulted" police dragged him off the street, through him in the back of the patty wagon, beat him up, and then charged him with assaulting them, when in actuality, he was detained illegally like yourself. He later identifies the fact that the police assaulted each other in order to form a legitimate case. This is an example of the demented mind of THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. This scenario happened to me in Atlanta, GA and every "criminal" in the holding cell during that weekend of late April 1998 was a college student, 90% of which had trumped up charges just like me. You should have heard the stories. This is how the city shut down freaknic permanently. No student would ever return after such a treat had been posed on their well being. I could go on and on about the number of scenarios that I am familiar with in which a "criminal" is incarcerated illegally. Google Troy Davis, Mumia Abu Jamal, Imam Jamil Al Amin, the Jena 6, the San Francisco 8, etc. You can even google the murders and attempted murders that the "justice" system has committed against so called "criminals" such as Sean Bell, Kathryn Johnston, Emmitt Till, Amadu Dialo, Rodney King, Abner Louima, etc. Why aren't the law abiding officers, lawyers, and judges, who all swear allegiance to the same fraternal order, and are all mostly masons or eastern stars, ever brought up on charges? I feel it is because the average American citizen is too concerned about maintaining their lofty T.V. dinner with the golden retriever lifestyle to really give a damn about what a "criminal mind" is really thinking. Well this here 30 year old African American "criminal" has a home, family, successful consulting firm that has contracts both domestically and foreign, a popular radio show in Atlanta, and many other accolades to acknowledge. I have actually been arrested 6 times in my lifetime. I know for a fact that 3 of those times were for trumped up charges. I have no intentions of making all criminals out to be more than what they are. I am just attempting to get people to see that "rehab" SHOULD be the real purpose of a prison, and an environment that can create a "human mind" and not the mind of an animal is by all means the most appropriate environment to uphold. I feel this Austrian prison we are all commenting about would do wonders for many so called disturbed individuals, who may have never experienced such environments in their lives of growing up less fortunate. Consider the environments that many "criminals" are raised in. I can't speak for Austrians, but I can definitely speak for Americans. Harboring a person in a kennel will only breed an animal. Let's try considering putting "criminals" in the same level of comfort that Martha Stuart had in prison. I don't here anyone complaining about her level of treatment, let alone the crime she committed.
David Vincent says:
I am confused. I see a court building with interesting architecture that also serves as a detention center. Here in the US the vast majority of our courthouses in major cities are at least this nice and often are the finest of all the buildings in the downtown area. It is not uncommon here for these court buildings to also have detention centers. That yellow walled photo depicting assumedly where the inmates are housed looks pretty utilitarian to me, despite the modest landscaping out front.
AR says:
I got this email showing the prison I am amazed wether they are petty criminals or hard ones its ridiculous that they are given such a cushy place to spend there time for commiting a crime I want to go and commit a crime now over in austria so I can live better then what I am now
I am sure that the are not going to rehabilitate I would want to go out and rob another bank to get back in food shelter and a cushy prison thats like a hotel Keep prisons the way they should be not like a 5 star hotel
AK says:
this is silly half of the people that are in their deserve no life of luxury. If someone had killed someone in your family and got sent to a prison like this would you be happy? its no much of a punishment, if anything it will make them reoffend.
Sarah says:
It is also not logical to assume that the reason for the US relatively higher crime rate is our broken penal system. There are incalculable other variables to be considered.

Also its misleading to say that THIS is the alternative to 'mistreating' our criminals. This is an absolute ridiculous waste of public funding. I don't really care that much because it's not my money they're spending. It's not that I begrudge the lawless their comfort, but if they're building detention centers with these kinds of amenities, then every single school, hospital, orphanage, and retirement home better meet the same standards.

It is an atrocity that prisoners have more vocal advocate groups than do the elderly or the orphaned.
Sarah says:
Andrew, I would love to see your source data for that statement of material fact. What are these other controlled variables?
Andrew Austin says:
Controlling for other variables, the more lenient the criminal justice system the less crime there is. It's a material fact found throughout the world.

Sorry, but your desire to make criminals suffer is counterproductive. Treat people badly and they act badly.
skyde_k says:
well, this is office doesn't look this nice
john says:
If you do the crime, you have to do the time. When you have broken the law and are convicted, you lose your freedom plain and simple. when you are a convict or prisoner, you have lost all your rights, you no longer have any rights to demand anything. Prison is not a recreation hall or first class hotel, it is PUNISHMENT for a crime !!
Lou says:
I think the accomadations are nice and at an initial glance I believed i was an office building or something. However, I would like to see the majority of my tax dollars used towards rehabilative prorgrams for youth instead of providing a luxurios accommodations for criminals. If our governments would be more money into afterschool care programs it would in fact deter our youth from the ills of bad decision making and the inevitable punishment behind bars.
CC says:
There are consequences when one breaks the law. it is punishment. Rehabilitation is part of that punishment, losing one's freedom is also part of it. Luxury does not ADD to punishment, it detracts. I think this is tasteless and an expense unbecoming of any penal system. I too would rather see the money go to help widows and orphans and the elderly or sick. Then those who choose to commit crimes by CHOICE.
hipster says:
You people need to wake up. Keep building prisons like this and believing you are helping criminals is just foolish. Wakeup....You'll be awash in criminal in no time. There is EVIL out there.
Debbie says:
For those of you that are merciless, and quick to judge, must not believe in God, or heaven and hell. You are commiting a sin, when you don't have compassion and love for your enemy. Nor show mercy for those, who are lost. And one day, you will have face your judge and be sentenced. Meanwhile about the building and it's facilities......I choose to believe that it's a step in the right direction, treat the inmates with dignity and respect, and maybe even some counseling. People are the way they are, for reasons. It was probably such a person like yourself, that beat them down, until they felt no one cared. And the cycle goes on and on.....

JM says:
Prison should be humane--neither luxurious nor dilapidated. Boundaries and limited personal freedom are to be expected; malnourishment, deprivation of basic human needs, torture, crime, and violence should be eradicated. Mr. Hohensinn's design is lovely--I'd rather see it in the service of, say, children who've no parents than in its present use.

As an earlier commenter expressed, loss of freedom is a mental punishment. I agree and add that rehabilitation happens in the mind as well. A humane prison that offers opportunities for therapeutic counseling and education doesn't need to be a structural masterpiece. I'd rather see such funding diverted to building maintenance (certainly) and rehabilitative programming (hopefully).
MB says:
I agree that prisons should be a rehabilitation center, but this is just ridiculous!! Once they get out they're going to realize how good they had it and commit another crime to get back in! As far as feeling sorry for prisoners being locked up in a cell all day with "no freedom".... take a look at the pictures and read the article again and THEN give me your sob story for these losers that get to live better than I do at the simple cost of shooting an innocent man. Like I said, some prisons could be better, but there are a lot of prisons who have the right idea of rehabilitation (even the inmates will agree) and this definitely isn't it!!
jim says:
i think you should make prison a living hell. have the prisoners eat a turd, beat the hell out of them, torture them, cut their fingers off. people should fear breaking the law
dlc says:
I'd LOVE to stay in a place like that. It's nicer than my place where I pay to live. With a view like that, who cares if you can't leave when you want. Who'd want to leave? What crime do I need to commit to end up there?
Connie says:
My tax dollars should not be spent to have prisoners live in a better place than I do. They say it doesn't matter if it is beautiful with all the luxuries, that it is the "loss of freedom" that is so terrible. Then by all means, why waste money giving it to them when it doesn't matter?
Big T says:
I`ve done 7 years behind bars.Loosing your fredome is a mental punishment.Add the violence and you have punishment not rehabilatation..not all persons that commit a crime are not repeat offenders.Look at the percentage of people in the USA that do go to jail.The amount is stunning.
robert says:
some people dont realize, prison is prison...regardless how nice it is...go sit locked up in a room against your will for days, weeks, months, and even doesnt matter how nice it is...its still jail. I think a place like this is a fresh new approach to show people that have made mistakes, we are here to help you, not demean you and treat you like a caged animal with no rights because you made a mistake. Some people are not even serious offenders or have not committed serious crimes, yet they are thrown into a world of torment with no care about them....they are just considered less than human...they are abused, degraded, and treated like animals. The things that prison does to your psyche, most will never understand unless they have been incarcerated. Ever been put on house arrest? Ask someone who has if it was easy, or a walk in the park...i bet you they tell you no...why, because even though you have all of your comforts around you, which make it a little easier, you have still lost the most valuable thing you can loose...your freedom.

For the record i have done some time for minor violations, traffic..etc...the prison i was in, was one of the worst in the lived like an animal in is over 200 years old, and like a dungeon...
ken venice says:
unreal give me my freedom. keep your high class prisons
Joey says:
I think the entire point is how much this flippin' thing cost. I'm all for building new prisons here in the USA to get the thugs out of society, but if they wound up looking like this one, I'd be one p'd off taxpayer.
x-kahn says:
I spent almost five years in prison, NO INMATES DESERVE THAT! It was hell and I'm glad, I don't ever want to go back. That place was built with good intentions. To bad the road to hell was also paved with them.
shoot em says:
Is the electric chair made of leather?
jg says:
it's not just an issue of whether they are getting "pampered" or not... as a tax payer, you aren't going to convince me that effective rehabilitation for "not so bad" CRIMINALS nor punishment for "bad" CRIMINALS is dependent upon a $100mil building rather than a $50mil buidling. by their very nature a prison should be utilitarian, with all "extra" costs going to decreased chances of escape, not to hardwood basketball courts and the like.
Coyote says:
Prison - what a joke. Check out Sheriff Joe's Tent City in Phoenix, AZ - as Joe says - "You do the crime - you do the time." You'll find Joe's place at:
charles r says:
this is lame. Let me give you a treat for breaking the law! Very dumb!
Former Inmate says:
I think it is a refreshing approach. Just because one is incarcerated it does not mean that they have to be kept in "Super-Max" facilities (which have proven that they only perpetuate the cycle of violence and crime). I think that if you offer work programs to imitate actual responsibilites of "Free Society" and require the inmates to pay for rent and other such things that it may actually serve as a positive tool to help people for when they are returned to society. The other alternative is to do like we do in the U.S. and treat them as meaningless animals cage them and deny them as much as possible so they can be filled with contempt and hate and upon release they can victimize everyone around them with their new appreciation of animal instincts and might makes right mentality.
Anonymoose says:
This prison must be for the scandalous CEO's, politcal figures, celebrities, and insider traders of the world.
razh says:
You guys are being rather ridiculous. I seriously doubt they would put someone who robbed a bank or committed some other serious crime here. This looks like it's for traffic violators or punishment of other very light crimes. Be realistic, this isn't the only prison in Austria.
Bullwinkle says:
EU residents have not gotten over their centuries of Kings and Queens and dungeons.. Wait till you try to put a few radical Muslums away for life..
You all can write the checks, we're the ones who have to cash them here in the USA
American Prison Guard says:
I doubt there are any hardcore criminals in that facility. Go to Austria on a shooting rampage and see if you end up in a prison like that
G says:
there are detention centers in the US that may not have the architecture of this building... but do have better accommodations then that... seriously though... is this about jail... or the building, the building is beautiful
Micheal says:
Have you Americans ever taken a look at the vastly different crime statistics between the USA and a country like Austria? You really think your method works the best?
JoAnn says:
I see the pros and cons on both sides of this argument. Are there any statistics available regarding repeat offenders, or how many become productive members of society? Does this facility house those convicted of ALL types of crime; i.e. white collar, serial killer, child molester, etc.?
Cedar Park, United States 15-Jul-08
Adam says:
This is ridiculous, I work hard to live in a place less nice than this.
barkon says:
Prison should not be cushy, but ask yourself if the classic, current style of 'punishment' prisons have done jack to deter crime. Overcrowding, gang violence, the abhorrent practice of housing violent and non-violent offenders in the same population all mixed into a building whose standard of living is near the bottom, seems to serve to increase criminal behavior. It makes the angry, bitter and violent more so and convinces the sociopath that he/she is correct in the world owes him/her everything.
Lisa says:
Whether this prison is in the USA or Austria, it is ridiculous that ANY inmate should be allowed to have such a "cushy" life. After all, where is the incentive to get out when everything is made so easy for them inside? Upon their release, this kind of prison will only encourage more crime to allow them to return to such a lifestyle!
Laurie says:
Who says prisons are for punishment? What about rehabilitation? The word "penitentiary" comes from the word "penitent," with the idea that inmates will learn to be penitent for their crimes. Even L. Frank Baum, author of the Oz books had the idea: In Oz, everyone would be so kind to the prisoners that they would be very sorry for what they had done. Besides, what about the employees who work there and just the people who drive by? Isn't it nicer to have a beautiful building? Losing one's freedom is not fun, no matter how nice one's surroundings.
CT says:
What happened to prison being for punishment? Are you homeless, or having a hard time keeping up with your rent? The solution: go rob a bank, so you end up in this new luxury prison. This will only encourage crime.
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Justice and Detention Centre
Doktor Hans-Gross-Strasse 7
Public access unknown!
Completion 2005
ArchitectJosef Hohensinn
artistLois&Franziska Weinberger
landscape designerLois&Franziska Weinberger
artistMona Hahn
Client Austrian Federal Real Estate Agency
Project ID 1246
Latitude/Longitude 47°22'44N 15°06'15E
Contributed by Oliver_Elser
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