Prison Inside Me: South Koreans lock themselves up to escape daily lifehttps://indianexpress.com/photos/world-news/prison-inside-me-south-koreans-lock-themselves-up-to-escape-daily-life-5466460/

Prison Inside Me: South Koreans lock themselves up to escape daily life

A downturn in South Korea's high-tech, export-driven economy has intensified a hyper-competitive school and work environment that experts say adds to a high incidence of stress and suicide

Prison Inside Me: South Koreans lock themselves up to escape daily life

Park Hye-ri, 28, a startup business program manager, puts her mobile phone outside a cell of Prison Inside Me, a mock prison facility, in Hongcheon, South Korea. (Source: Reuters)

Prison Inside Me: South Koreans lock themselves up to escape daily life

Since 2013, the facility has hosted more than 2,000 inmates, many of them stressed office workers and students seeking relief from South Korea's demanding work and academic culture. (Source: Reuters)

Prison Inside Me: South Koreans lock themselves up to escape daily life

For most people, prison is a place to escape from. For South Koreans in need of a break from the demands of everyday life, a day or two in a faux jail is the escape. (Source: Reuters)

Prison Inside Me: South Koreans lock themselves up to escape daily life

Prison rules are strict. No talking with other inmates. No mobile phones or clocks. (Source: Reuters)

Prison Inside Me: South Koreans lock themselves up to escape daily life

"This prison gives me a sense of freedom," said Park Hye-ri, a 28-year-old office worker who paid $90 to spend 24 hours locked up in a mock prison. (Source: Reuters)

Prison Inside Me: South Koreans lock themselves up to escape daily life

Co-founder Noh Ji-Hyang said the mock prison was inspired by her husband, a prosecutor who often put in 100-hour work weeks. (Source: Reuters)

Prison Inside Me: South Koreans lock themselves up to escape daily life

South Koreans worked 2,024 hours on average in 2017, the third longest after Mexico and Costa Rica, in a survey of 36 member countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (Source: Reuters)

Prison Inside Me: South Koreans lock themselves up to escape daily life

Clients get a blue prison uniform, a yoga mat, tea set, a pen and notebook. They sleep on the floor. There is a small toilet inside the room, but no mirror. The menu includes steamed sweet potato and a banana shake for dinner, and rice porridge for breakfast. (Source: Reuters)