The Apple Store in Vienna A prison in Styria, Austria. (More pics)
If you look at these figures comparing crime in Austria and crime in the U.S. you’ll notice something odd: although the U.S. has higher crime rates in virtually every category (murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, etc…) the Austrians triumph in one category: burglary. But why? Why is the rate of burglaries in Austria a whopping 40% higher than in the U.S.? I’ll tell you why: because Austrian minimum security prisons are fucking awesome! If you’re in Austria, and have a working brain, you should be trying to get into one right now!
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Commit the right crime, and this could be your cell!
Hell, I live just a few kilometers from the border and I’m seriously considering heading over there this weekend and doing some serious damage. What’s the worst that can happen? Either I come back with a new kick-ass flat-screen television or they send me to some place like the Justice Center Leoben and I get a few months of all-inclusive paid vacation. It’s win-win!
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Fun games of ping-pong help show you the error of your ways.
Indoor soccer teaches you that what you did was wrong because it’s likeagainst society.
No costly, monthly membership fees for you at this glorious gym! Feel the burn! Rrrrr!
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I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “Michael, you’ve made a pretty convincing argument so far and, truth be told, I wouldn’t mind hurting an Austrian or two and maybe picking up some new Bose speakers in the process. But what about the fact that you’re restricted in prison? Aren’t you isolated from your loved ones there? That doesn’t sound like fun.”
Well, verily I say unto you: “Guenther (if your name is Guenther — otherwise substitute your own name instead) Austria’s enlightened prison authorities fully understand your concerns and they’re ready to help. That’s why they’ve set up some awesomely comfortable rooms for your conjugal visits.”
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Aw, hell yeah!
You see? What kind of five-star prison wouldn’t have a love shack, baby? And afterwards, keep in mind that there’s no time for fighting or arguing or anything. Your partner goes home and you retire to your balcony to rest and reflect on your long day of ping-ponging and ding-donging.
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Life can be cruel to people who aren’t in Austrian prisons.
By now you’re probably saying to yourself: “Well, Michael, I’ve got my ski mask on, my crowbar in hand and I’m ready to roll — are you sure there are no downsides to this place?”
And to that I’m afraid I have to say that, yes, Guenther there are. There’s always a catch to everything, isn’t there? For Leoben it’s this: you’ll probably have to spend a lot of time with an AustrianSozialpädagogin (literally: “one who doesn’t know shit from shinola“) and you’ll have to do a lot of reflecting and do stuff like write poems about why you took that dude’s rolex. You’ll also be exposed to the word “auseinandersetzen” (to “confront” or “deal” with an issue) thousands of times. Like in some Stalinist show trial, you’ll have to admit that the reasons you stole that kid’s Playstation are: your sense of alienation from modern life, an unsupportive family structure, an unclear concept of right and wrong, Austrian society in general, and the moviePirates of the Caribbean 2 in particular.
Ugh. Now that I think about it, it’s actually not worth it. And even if you’d like to go, the place is booked to capacity: 205 “prisoners” at the moment. It’s probably harder to get into this place than it is for a woman to join the Vienna Philharmonic.
Still, if you have to go to prison — choose Austria!
UPDATE: Welcome, kottke.org readers! If any of you are planning a pan-Austrian crime spree this summer, let me know because I’d love to come visit you at this place. (Not a conjugal visit, though. Just to see it from the inside.)"