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Story Publication logo November 10, 2014

Norway: Musical Therapy at Bastøy Prison

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English

The phrase "prison island" conjures a dark and daunting image reinforced by Hollywood movies, Devil...

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An inmate relaxes with his guitar in the living room—which doubles as a rehearsal room—in the blues band members' house on Bastøy Prison Island. Image by Britton Nagy. Norway, 2014.

Midway through his 18-year sentence, a Bastøy Prison inmate who asked to be called Jonas has discovered his own method of rehabilitation—music.

As leader of the prison blues band "Skyldig Som Faen" (meaning "Guilty as Hell"), Jonas is paving the way to healthier habits and a more constructive lifestyle. He credits these successes to a prison atmosphere that encourages growth, change and reflection.

Jonas and his fellow band members say that creating music as a cooperative effort has enabled them to develop interpersonal skills, problem-solving abilities, and constructive communication, traits that he hopes will aid in a smooth transition back into everyday society in Norway.

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