If you believe the conventional widsom that prison sentences are for designed solely for rehabilitation (as opposted to retribution), Austria’s Leoben Justice Centre may very well be the leader in turning lives around. If you believe that those responsible for heinous crimes deserve to suffer in squalor, wretched conditions, however, you might want to stop reading this and go rent a Linda Blair prison movie.
Those of us who’ve toured Alcatraz in San Francisco can imagine the cold, harsh, unfeeling reality facing years of hard time. You committed a crime and now you must pay for it by enduring isolation, bad food, prison fights and being somebody’s bitch for twenty-five to life. If you exhibit good behavior, you might one day see the sun again. But is the system doing you any favors? Is the daily misery of life in the slammer inspiring you to make better, more law abiding choices in the future?