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Three Related Danish Narratives: The Film R, the Penal Museum at Horsens and the Replacement Prison of East Jutland

  • Jack DyceEmail author
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Abstract

From 1863 to 2006, Horsens Prison (Horsens Straffeanstalt, later Horsens Statsfængsel) in Danish East Jutland (following a prison reform) was a state prison. It achieved a new and particular public profile when the film R, an internationally distributed Dogme-style docu-fiction, was shot in the prison space after closure, with former convicts and prison officers cast in their former roles. Horsens subsequently became an extensive multi-media prison museum (FÆNGLSET) alongside public recreational space, office and conference space and vacation accommodation. A new establishment, East Jutland State Prison (Statsfængslet Østjylland), was built on current penal principles but also using modern technologies, not least to respond to public concerns about security and social challenges. This paper takes a long perspective, tracking penal policy and practice, and prison environmental design and prisoner experience, but also setting this within an environment of ideological assumptions. This paper recognises that these media are nested within different environments—state penal systems, cinema production, the heritage industry, academia, the press, the disciplines of design and technology, the space of public opinion—and each of these brings its own lens, priorities and perspectives, externally shaped, to the changing interior world of the prison.

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scottish United Reformed and Congregational CollegeGlasgowUK

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