As we wrote recently, the new Zurich West prison has put out a call for local volunteers to spend several nights in the 241-place jail to test it out before it accepts actual prisoners.
So far, 832 people who presumably have nothing more pressing to do have volunteered to be imprisoned for several days without access to the internet or phones. Because, why not?
The registration closed on Sunday, February 13th.
“You could say we are fully booked” a spokesperson for the prison told Swiss media.
The dress rehearsal, as it were, will take place between March 24th and 27th in conditions that will be as close as possible to reality.
This means participants must hand in their mobile phones and other devices at the entrance.
Different dietary requirements can be catered to, although only vegetarian, Halal and non-vegetarian options are on offer. No last meals will be served.
On the other hand, the body search will be carried out only on those who consent.
In addition, a keyword will be agreed upon, with which the fake convicts will be able to signal that they have had enough of isolation.
The selection process of candidates is about to begin, though given that four times as many people have applied as there are open spots “there probably won’t be room for everyone,” in the new prison, said a spokesperson the Department of Execution of Sentences and Reinstatement.
‘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.”