The city’s new penal establishment wants to test its operation as well as possible before it opens in April.

It’s not for a TV shoot, or an open house. The city of Zurich is looking for volunteers to spend four days in police custody in its prison, the Gefängnis Zurich West (GZW), according to the Swiss daily Blick . It is this option that the prison administration has chosen to test its brand new prison in real size before its inauguration in April.

The prison is intended primarily to accommodate people in custody or in pre-trial detention. Volunteers had until Sunday to apply. Two conditions were required: to be at least 18 years old and to live in the canton of Zurich.

How will they be treated? The official site of the operation explains that the conditions of detention will be less strict than for real prisoners. The testers can decide not to sleep in their cell or to shorten their stay, which is scheduled for March 24 to 27 inclusive.

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Smoking cells

Upon arrival, volunteers will also be able to choose not to submit to the strip search, which is mandatory for real prisoners. The experience promises to be authentic nonetheless since during this short stay, the testers will not be allowed to have any electronic devices in their cell (connected watches included). No telework possible, therefore. For smokers, on the other hand, who would like to kill boredom, cells provided for this purpose will be available. The prison also adapts to diets with different menus depending on intolerances or religious requirements.

Will the volunteers attempt an escape? While the operation is not necessarily intended to test prison security, the prison administration has said it wants to test its protocols in general and adapt them accordingly. This test also aims tosee behind the scenes» and discover «how is itSeen from the inside, according to the administration, which no doubt hopes to confront the reality of the prison universe with the imagination built up through films and series.

If 700 people had already volunteered by February 10, according to Elena Tankovski, head of the Prisons and Reintegration Department, whose remarks were reported by Blicknot everyone will be able to participate in the test operation“. The prison has only 241 cells, for nearly 150 employees, also indicated the German-speaking daily.

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