What Can Norway's Prison System Teach Us?
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

What Can Norway's Prison System Teach Us?

The United States prison system is ineffective and inhumane.

What Can Norway's Prison System Teach Us?

The U.S prison system was built on dehumanizing inmates. The institution revolves around punishment and works to permanently remove inmates from society, even if they are let out. Rethinking incarceration in the United States is long overdue, but where would we start?

Norway's prison system is built upon 1 simple concept: rehabilitation. Norway abolished capital punishment in 1905, and soon after abolished the death penalty. Their prisons are rehabilitation focused, the end goal is to help prisoners re-enter into society. Their prisons are effective; 80% of inmates do not end up back in prison. In the United States, about 67% of Americans released from prison are rearrested within 3 years, 75% rearrested within 5 years.

At Halden prison, Norway's second highest security prison, the closest thing inmates have to punishment is being physically separated from society as they serve their sentence. Halden holds 251 of Norway's worst criminals, including rapists and serial killers. While they're there, they spend their time in rehab, and they can take vocational classes, learn to cook, and take care of animals. During their time they are taught to change the way they interact with society, so they will not repeat their crimes. Upon release, they are provided housing, healthcare, employment and treatment for addiction. The skills they learned in prison will help them be successful in society. Unlike those trapped in the U.S prison cycle, they will be able to build a better life for themselves when they get out.

In the United States, once someone is released from prison, they are labeled a criminal indefinitely. It's been pounded into society that "criminals'' are bad, so naturally they should not have the same rights as everyone else. No one wants to hire a criminal. No one wants to rent an apartment to a criminal. No one wants to give you a good insurance plan. Also, you can't vote. As a result, you end up back in prison, where you are probably better off, because achieving stability outside of it is impossible.

To many, the concept of Norwegian prisons is ridiculous. They may argue that all the rehabilitation is too expensive; Norway spends $93,000 a year per inmate, as opposed to the $33,000 a year spent by the U.S. However, if the U.S adopted a prison system based on rehabilitation, it would lower their incarceration rate. As a result, they would spend about 45 billion less than they are now. America forgets that inmates are still people. The foundation of a humane and effective prison begins with something simple: treating people with humanity.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

An Open Letter To The Younger Muslim Generation

Fight back with dialogue and education.


Dear Muslim Kids,

Keep Reading... Show less

The Mystery Of The Gospel

Also entitled, "The Day I Stopped Believing In God"


I had just walked across the street from the soccer field back to the school. I turned around and saw the cars rushing, passing each other, going fast over the crosswalk where I had been moments earlier. “It would be so easy to jump in front of one of them,” I thought, looking at the cars. “I could jump, and this life that I’m stuck in would be over.”

Keep Reading... Show less

College as Told by The Lord of the Rings Memes

One does not simply pass this article.


College as told by the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit memes. Everyone will be Tolkien about it.

Keep Reading... Show less

A Tribute To The Lonely Hispanic

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I’d like to share a few thoughts about being Hispanic in a country where it’s hard to be Hispanic.

Veronika Maldonado

Just a little background information; my dad was born in Mexico, came to the U.S. as a newborn and became a citizen when he was 25 years old. My mom was born and raised in the U.S. as were my grandparents and great grandparents, but my great-great grandparents did migrate here from Mexico. I am proud to classify myself as Hispanic but there are times when I feel like I’m living a double life and I don’t fit into either one.

Keep Reading... Show less

Dear College Football

It's not you, it's me.


Dear College Football,

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments