Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Thomas Ugelvik (University of Oslo) has posted Prisons as Welfare Institutions? Punishment and the Nordic Model (Handbook on prisons (2016). J. Bennett, Y. Jewkes and B. Crewe (eds). London: Routledge) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In the field of comparative penology, the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – are frequently used as an exception to the general rule. As the story goes, these societies are somehow able to resist a current global move towards growing rates of imprisonment and tougher crime control policies. Nordic prisons are seen as beacons of humanity and decency in a world of ever-increasing penal populism. In a much-discussed two-part article, John Pratt described the Nordic societies as exhibiting a specifically Nordic penal culture, resulting in what he called Scandinavian or Nordic exceptionalism in the penal area; the exceptional qualities, according to Pratt, being consistently low rates of imprisonment and comparatively humane prison conditions.
The exceptionalism debate has, so far, too often revolved around the question of whether the Nordic prison systems really are or are not that exceptional.