Inmates at Oslo Prison make furniture and knick-knacks while they are doing time. It is a very popular service, and in 2006 the outlet Benny Butikk (Benny Shop) was named the year’s most exciting and alternative (Christmas) gift shop. They sell everything from old books, furniture, greeting cards, paintings, ceramics, glass, textiles and holiday items.
Oslo Prison, aka Botsen, is a familiar landmark. In the 1960s and 70s, the building was used in the movie series Olsenbanden – a trio of crooks who carry out a series of robberies but rarely succeed. Each movie begins with gang leader Egon Olsen coming out through the large prison entrance. The store is named after the group member Benny.
The prison rehabilitation outlet is located in the basement of a 153 years old brick building. The inmates make rocking horses and chairs for kids, large pillows, tablecloths, Easter and Christmas decorations and a variety of art objects. It is also possible to make special orders on different types of furniture.
Several Norwegian prison shops make custom-made furniture. Ullersmo prison outside Oslo specializes in kitchen units, while inmates at Indre Østfold Prison mainly make playhouses, bath tubs and stalls. Some prisons specialize in interior and décor.
Inside Oslo prison there are several workshops. There are no prison officers in charge, but workshop officers with backgrounds in various crafts.
Norwegian prisons have a major focus on rehabilitation where the inmates are as far as possible getting prepared for a life in freedom. Meaningful work and human dignity are central elements.
See more photos at Benny butikk, fengselsutsalg (Facebook)
These prisons have outlets:
– Oslo Prison – Benny Butikk. Open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 6pm.
– Ila Prison. Open Monday to Friday from 8am to 2.30pm.
– Ringerike Prison. Open Thursdays 10am to 2pm.
– Hedmark Prison, have outlets in Hamar.
– Ullersmo Prison. Open Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm.
– Bergen Prison – http://www.fengselsprodukt.no
– Kongsvinger Prison. Open Fridays from 12pm to 4pm.
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews
Source: Oslo Prison, Østlendingen
Photos: Benny butikk, fengselsutsalg (Facebook)