Norwegian delegation visits five Pennsylvania prisons

From Norway, Pennsylvania’s prisons appear cruel and unusual

As metal gates swung open and then shut behind him, Are Høidal, the warden of Norway’s Halden prison, peered down the long, echoing main corridor of the State Correctional Institution-Chester, a medium-security prison a half-hour outside Philadelphia. Coming from what has been called the world’s most humane prison, Høidal said practices here in Pennsylvania can at times seem unaccountably harsh.

Seventeen percent of Philadelphia inmates living with serious mental illness

Can Pennsylvania find a way out for thousands of mentally ill inmates languishing in county jails?

Bruce Herdman, chief of medical operations for the Philadelphia Department of Prisons, sometimes describes the county jails this way: “This is the largest psychiatric hospital in the state of Pennsylvania.” Forty percent of Philadelphia inmates are on psychotropic medications; 17 percent have what’s considered a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.