Is this really a thing? Denmark spends fortune on “Cruise Rehab” for troubled youths

Annie Daly
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Is this really a thing? Denmark spends fortune on “Cruise Rehab” for troubled youths

All aboard for rehab. Photo: iStock

What do Caribbean cruises and rehab programs have in common? Surprisingly, the answer is not “nothing.”

For the past five years, the country of Denmark has been sending their young criminals on year-long cruises to the Caribbean in an attempt to rehabilitate them into regular life, says MailOnline. So far, they’ve sent 59 youths. And according to a report released on Monday in the Danish newspaper Metroexpress, the country has spent 42 million kroner (roughly $8,265,378) on the program.

But why a cruise?

“We do it so they can get away from the environment of drug abuse,” explains Flemming Olson, the Director of Family Affairs for Frederikssund Municipality, one of Denmark’s city governments.

“I agree that it looks strange, but this isn’t a cruise,” echoes John Schmidt Andersen, Frederikssund’s mayor. “There are demands made. I don’t care what they do as long as they stop abusing [drugs].”

GALLERY: Living on a cruise ship

There are demands indeed. The young criminals are put on a boat with two or three others their age, in addition to a captain and teacher. There, they are “boat schooled” for the year, and at the end of the cruise, they return to Denmark to take their exams. Some criminals have even been put on a cruise for a second year if they fail to meet expectations.

That said, the young criminals are not banned from substances entirely. They are allowed to drink alcohol on weekend trips and during official outings, and marijuana is also fairly easy to acquire.

Still, it’s not a party. While cruising rehab may seem too good to be true at first glance, the participants are not, in fact, simply cruising right along.

This article originally appeared on Yahoo Travel.