Hegningarhúsið ("the penalty house") is the oldest prison in Iceland, founded in 1874. Its ancient architecture and basic construction make the jail unsuitable for present penal use, as the only place for prisoners to go outside their cells is a small backyard.
Hegningarhúsið can house a total of 16 inmates. It is usually used as an entry point into the Icelandic penal system. Inmates get a medical check and an interview before they are sent elsewhere to serve out their sentences. Prisoners with very short sentences sometimes serve them in the Hegningarhúsið.