The Norwegian Prison System

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The Norwegian Prison System

Postby Zor » 2012-10-20 10:06am

I am sure some people are aware of this, but i don't know if anyone has discussed this subject yet.

A Time Article on them

Long story short, Norway's prisons are pretty mild, even for violent offenders. Prisoners live in rather comfortable conditions. Despite this Norway has very low crime and Recidivism rates. The way I see it this system is rather damning of people who claim the solution to crime is harsher punishments. What said people asking for amounts to having the state engage in pointless brutality.

But what are your thoughts on this?

Last edited by Zor on 2012-10-20 12:34pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Norwegian Prison System

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-10-20 12:11pm

I would bet that one of the reasons the Norwegian prison system works for Norway is that it's Norway, socioeconomically. If your crime rate is low in the first place (and I seem to recall that Norway's is), then the same factors that lower the base crime rate will lower the recidivism rate.

People have lots of things to do that are safer/more lucrative than crime. There aren't so many mentally ill or drug-addled people wandering around- people who can become either likely criminals or easy victims. There aren't as many random gangs of teenagers and twentysomethings whose members cycle in and out of prison like a revolving door and create a subculture where going to jail is accepted or even a mark of honor.

None of which really contradicts the idea that this system works. But to make it work in a different context we'd have to think carefully about what we were doing.

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Re: The Norwegian Prison System

Postby Bob the Gunslinger » 2012-10-20 01:54pm

Well, if it can work in a culture as diverse and inherently unequal as Norway's, it should work just fine anywhere, right?
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Re: The Norwegian Prison System

Postby fgalkin » 2012-10-20 02:01pm

One of the reasons Norway has a low crime rate is basically because they refuse to prosecute rapes and 80% aren't even reported (the conviction rate is under 10%, so most women don't even bother).

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Re: The Norwegian Prison System

Postby Terralthra » 2012-10-20 04:21pm

What that article describes is de rigeur in the USA, as well. Something the two nations have in common can not explain any part of a difference in violent crime rates.

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Re: The Norwegian Prison System

Postby Alyrium Denryle » 2012-10-21 01:31am

fgalkin wrote:One of the reasons Norway has a low crime rate is basically because they refuse to prosecute rapes and 80% aren't even reported (the conviction rate is under 10%, so most women don't even bother).

Have a very nice day.

It is about the same in the US and Britain (worse in Britain). But you cant hide a body. So take a look at the murder rate.

Norway: .6 murders per 100k people
US: 4.2 per 100k inhabitants.

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Re: The Norwegian Prison System

Postby weemadando » 2012-10-21 01:45am

Putting aside initial crime rates, being able to achieve low recidivism is a big thing. Those kind of outcomes have to indicate a successful system at some level.
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Re: The Norwegian Prison System

Postby Stark » 2012-10-21 02:34am

But as suggested, culture is a big part of it. If you have more career criminals or mentally ill criminals or organised criminals, soft systems may not work as well as they do in a civilised country. However, they may still work better than private criminal academies.

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Re: The Norwegian Prison System

Postby Nieztchean Uber-Amoeba » 2012-10-21 08:22am

The point about culture and demographics is an incredibly important one. America has cities with populations higher than all of Scandinavia, and America has the largest diaspora from the Third World of any developed country (as well as the most heterogenous population overall). You're simply not even dealing with the same kinds of criminals and criminal organisations in any way. But yeah, a system like Norway's that seems to have been rebuilt from the ground-up for re-socialization is guaranteed to work better than the runaway amalgamated prison-industrial complex powered by inertia and private interests that America uses.

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