Volunteers enter a prison to "try it" before the official opening!

27 April, 2022
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Volunteers enter a prison to "try it" before the official opening!

A new Swiss prison has opened its doors for those who want to stay behind the walls, provided that the volunteer meets several criteria, related to good health, a clean criminal record, and to be a resident of the city of Zurich in Switzerland.

According to a report by the Swiss "Swissinfo" website, the turnout for "going to prison" was unparalleled.

More than 800 people applied, but only 170 were allowed to participate in this unique experience.

From 24 to 27 March 2022, a prison in Zurich opened its doors to volunteer men and women willing to lock themselves up in cells for a day or several days and experience prison life in conditions similar to reality.

What is the purpose of the experiment?

The prison's purpose of this test was to ensure that operations and procedures were running correctly before the official opening of the temporary detention section of the Zurich West Prison.

The director of the prison, Mark Ehrman, described the test as "unique in the world".

He added, "During the testing process, we had nearly four times more prisoners than we would expect in a normal operation."

"The goal of the experiment is exactly to notice such difficulties and to improve procedures until the prison is operational," Ehrman noted.

A number of media outlets participated in the prison experience, including "Swissinfo", which spent an entire night in the women's prison.

One of the volunteers, Laura, says that she heard about the conditions in prisons in Switzerland, and wanted to form her own opinion.

Nicole, a psychoanalyst, wanted to explore the ramifications of the experience on the human psyche. "It surprised me how quickly my mood changed," she said. "I felt like I had put myself in a capsule where no one hears anything and no one sees."


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