New Zurich jail calls for volunteers to serve time

Has Covid isolation whetted your appetite for a bit more solo time? Then you're in luck.

A generic close up of jail bars in black and white
Ever wanted to see what prison is like from the inside? Here's your chance. Photo by Tim Hüfner on Unsplash

The new Zurich West prison has put out a call for volunteers to spend several nights in the jail to test it out before it accepts actual prisoners.

Those who opt to serve time would do so on a voluntary basis, i.e. no payment or reimbursements will be received, although you’ll get three prison meals a day (meat-based, vegetarian or Halal) and plenty of peace and quiet. 

People will spend four days in prison. Anyone who wants to be involved must live in Zurich or work for the canton, be at least 18 years old and agree to a security check before taking part. 

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The prison term will last from Thursday, March 24, 12p.m. to Sunday, March 27, 10a.m.

Anyone who doesn’t take to prison life will be allowed to leave early, i.e. you do not need to serve the full four days. 

‘There are only winners in this situation’

Prison officials have extolled the virtues of the program, saying people can get a real idea of how it feels to be in prison – without having to commit a crime. 

“There are only winners in this test operation. As a participant, you can experience in a safe environment how it might feel for a real arrested person to suddenly be locked up.” 

“Make your own comparison between fiction from various series and reality in Switzerland.”

For anyone looking for a fun and romantic idea in the lead up to Valentines Day, officials say that couples can participate, although prisoners will be separated according to gender. 

Registrations to take part in the voluntary imprisonment started on Saturday at midday and will remain open until February 13th. 

Those interested can find out more about the program and register at the following link. 

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Zurich approves simplified path to Swiss citizenship

Voters in Switzerland’s most populous canton on Sunday approved a proposal which will make it easier for foreigners to get Swiss citizenship.

Zurich approves simplified path to Swiss citizenship

The vote passed with 69.1 percent support, making it the most popular of the four initiatives put to the polls. 

Around 350,000 foreigners live in Zurich, which is roughly one quarter of the population – although the percentage is as high as 50 percent in some municipalities. 

The successful proposal called for Zurich’s naturalisation process, including the citizenship exam, to be made uniform across all 162 municipalities. 

The questions in the exam will now be centralised on a cantonal level. 

The test will include 350 questions about Swiss history, tradition, politics and culture, with a focus on Zurich. 

Anyone taking the test will be given 50 questions at random and must answer at least 30 correctly to pass. 

More information about the citizenship process in Zurich can be found at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How Zurich wants to make naturalisation easier

What else was decided on Sunday? 

Voters in Zurich also decided to reject a proposal to lower the voting age to 16, with 64.1 percent saying ‘nein’ to the proposal. 

A proposal to provide for more parental leave – and even up gender imbalances between fathers and mothers – was also rejected. 

Finally, voters supported law changes which sought to enshrine Zurich’s climate change goals in the cantonal constitution. 

A detailed breakdown of the vote can be seen here.