After investing CHF 21.8 million on transformation and renovation work, a prison in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Swiss canton of Neuchatel, now has 102 new prison cells.
On 18 March 2008, the canton’s leaders voted unanimously to invest in the project to transform existing buildings, some as old as 130 years, into a new prison facility. 94 members of Neuchatel’s grand council voted in favour of the project, with no opposition.
The high security facility, which will be used for pretrial and convicted prisoner detention, cost around CHF 200,000 (US$ 205,000) per cell. The canton plans to use the facility for male prisoners.
Judging by the comments on one Swiss newspaper website, some are unhappy about the amount of money spent on the facility. One reader on 20 Minutes’ website said “It’s shameful. This is nicer than my apartment. I’m wondering whether I should remain an honest citizen after seeing the luxury of this prison.” Another asked: “If I don’t pay my taxes and my compulsory health insurance, can I go to prison instead of being chased for payment?” While another said: “A cage, even a golden one, is still a cage.”