lunes, 22 de abril de 2013


"Where there is a way, there is a will."

In 1850 a widespread prison reform was introduces and two new eve-catching state prisons were opened in Horsens (1853) and Vridsloselille (1859). Horsens prison was intended for the worst convicts in the country, but when it gained a correction department in 1875 criminals with milder sentences were also admitted. In 2006 Horsens State Prison was closed and replaced by East Jutland State Prison in the same town. A plan suggested to open a prison museum in part of the old prison complex.   (Extracted from consulted on 5th March 2013).

Here you have the link to the web page of the Horsens´s Prison, which now it´s a museum you can visit: FAENGSLET (Horsens)

My first impression when I went inside the Horsens Prison was the grey of the walls. All the same colour, small rooms and agony everywhere. Reading the stories of the prisoners I realized that they did whatever they could in order to finish with their situation. A lot of them tried to scape, others trying kill themselves, but when they didn´t get them goal, they tried to be condemned to death penalty attacking a workers or another prisoners. It is amazing how you can feel this between these walls.

One of the stories more impressive for me it was the  one I call "The story of the spoon":

On the night of the 23rd of December 1949, Carl August Lorentzen escaped. It took him almos a year to dig an 18-meter long tunnel beneath the prison yard to freedom. He transported the dirt from the tunnel in his socks and hid it in the attic. He left a note in the cell for the prison staff. It read: "Where there´s a will, there is also a way!"

This story reveals desperation  anxiety, hatred and constance to get the freedom escaping of the place they consider one hell. 
ISOLATION ROOM: This room was used when one prisoner shows an aggressive behaviour to himself or to the others. He was  guarded for one official all the time he stayed there.

In that time, another prisoners tried to find another ways to survive in this situation. 

Jens Nielsen kept a diary. Or to be more precise "biographies" as he called them. Jens Nielsen wrote with a view to getting this work published in the hope that "...perhaps it could help to warn other young People." Writing meant a lot to him and he re-wrote parts of the diary several times. Hi tries to get the diary published but failed. (1884-892)

"My name is 357. My name is also Hansen and the officers call me by this, but it cannot be denied that I feel more like a number." (Prisoner 1956)

Do you see the differences between these two places?

Cell of 1902

Room of 2001

All the humans have the need of one space, of one identity it is part of the respect of Human Rights. The closed institutions have this risk, forget the human part of people. For the simple fact of being people we must to have right to this dignity. 

But... When  does it change the situation?

How I can check, it changes with the progressive evolution of the law. At the beginning, the law only focused the attention in the punishment. After that,  Denmark advances towards the educational function and reinsertion. By this way, the extreme desperation disappears, then  now it is the anxiety and superation which makes you wish continue your life. No more stories or murders, suicides.

We can see that in this new age the protagonists are the education, the art, the social life... Here you have some pictures of the last years of the Prison which show this fact. just before it was closed in 2006:

Creative way of indicate that it´s the 3rd floor of the Prison. One prisoner drew this painting  in 2003 in each floor (in the 1st one dragon-fly, the 2nd two, etc.) The creativity helps people to be more free and develop their dreams.

Living room

Kitchen and dining room

Room of study

I believe that the function of social educators in this prisons should follow the goal of freedom and responsibility of the own life; and find a good method to do it from one educational point of view. In other words: find an dignified will, also using a healthy way.

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