Ny Anstalt prison 4

Humane prison to bring Greenland’s most dangerous criminals home

Ny Anstalt prison 4

Story highlights

Greenland's capital Nuuk is getting a stylish new prison

Humane prisons are controversial, with some questioning whether criminals should live in beautiful buildings

Greenland's serious offenders, currently exiled in Denmark, are returning home

CNN  — 

Nestled into the stunning Arctic landscape with panoramic views of sparkling fjords and snowy mountains, Ny Anstalt could easily be mistaken for a luxury ski lodge. But this stylish complex in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, is actually a prison.

As any onlooker can deduce, when it opens in 2019 it will not be a normal penitentiary. It will be a “humane prison” – a correctional facility that emphasizes rehabilitating criminals through positive design, rather than punishment.

Exponents of the “humane prison” philosophy believe that if prisons mimic the conditions of normal life, as far as is possible, offenders have a greater chance of successful reintegration into society, and less chance of re-offending.

Ny Anstalt, however, is more than an architectural accomplishment for the country. It hopes to end a human rights issue that has haunted the island nation for decades.