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Where to Invade Next
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Where to Invade Next
Prison systems are meant for keeping culprits or criminals confined certain building where they are provided with basic necessities of life at minimum. The degree to which the prison systems confer rights and resources of life on the imprisoned individuals depends on the ideology/paradigms of such systems in a specific region and the laws made for regulating these bodies.
Prison System in Norway
The prison system in Norway is considered to be one of the best prison systems in the world. This argument has been developed in view of the attributes of this system and the statistical figures associated with evaluation methods. The incarceration rate in Norway is considerably lower than that of the other developed countries. Research shows that the incarceration rate in Norway is only .00075 percent. The prisoners in Norway are more capable to continue as normal, regular citizens after they are released from the prisons.
The prison system in Norway gives priority to providing the prisoners with rehabilitation and restoration services so that they may not find any difficulty in joining the community as productive citizens. The rectifying facilities given in Norwegian prisons aim at providing care to the individuals confined (Benko, 2018). The social context of the prisons in Norway is very encouraging, as they have a specific ideology of treating the criminals. They do not want to punish the prisoners only for the sake of punishment. They use punishment as a tool for reforming the mental and behavioral conditions of the culprits, and do not tend to treat them like animals. In Norway, the longest confinement lasts for twenty one years. Further, this will not be given in a once-for-all manner. The judge will take the decision after every five years considering the state of the prisoner’s rehabilitation capability. If the authority finds it necessary after five years that the prisoner has still not been rectified up to the required rehabilitation standards of the country, the confinement will be extended for further five years.
Another important sociological issue regarding the prison systems is the debate on death sentence. The Norwegian prison system has established their law about the severe punishments. There is no death sentence in the country, and the life imprisonment is also not applicable; the maximum sentence limit has been fixed by law as demonstrated above. This law regarding the severe punishments gives proof of the commitment of Norwegian law to using the punishment for the sake of rehabilitation.
The Norwegian concept of the prison system is based on the idea of “restorative justice”. They strive for the prisoners’ long-term welfare. The Norwegian system of prisons is developed to ensure that the prisoners are humans after all, and that the worst punishment enough for their crimes is to strip them of their freedom of living and keep confined behind the bars. They do not give any harsh treatments to their criminals because of their ideology of punishments.
The Norwegian prisons are designed in a way that demonstrates their behavior and treatment with the criminals. These prisons do not give any impression of torture cells or dark places for inhabitants. The prisons are well furnished, spacious, and clean. The bedrooms are comfortable, kitchens equipped with necessary utensils, and the whole environment is well-lit. The interaction or relationship between staff and prisoners is friendly and constructive. The individuals kept there are not meant to be treated badly or humiliated. They have enough resources of life at their disposal (Sterbenz, 2014). They are provided with rehabilitation programs, necessary education, and workshops for creating useful skills. It seems that all efforts of the system are directed to make the prisoners valuable citizens once again.
The expenses incurred on the prisoners in Norwegian system are likely to be higher than other countries. This is because the fair treatment and the facilities provided to the prisoners. Money is spent on providing them good accommodation facilities, food, and basic resources need for life. Costs are borne by the government to offer rehabilitation programs to the prisoners. According to a report, the Norwegian government spends more than ninety three thousand dollars per individual kept in prison at Halden prison. These costs are ultimately repaid in the form of reduced recidivism rates as compared by other countries. Mostly, individuals go to prisons once in a life, with an average period of six to seven months (Berger, 2016).
The Norwegian prisoners have been given the right to vote, as in most of the European countries. These individuals can use their right to vote same as other nationals can use. The only restriction is in case of violating law and order extremely, or having indulged in some terrorist or rebellious activity.
Prison System in America
In the United States, the prison system focuses on two concepts, punishment and rehabilitation. The prison system holds the largest number of prisoners in the world. The incarceration and recidivism rates are also among the highest. Critiques have commented a lot on the American prison system, in its favor, and mostly against it. People want a solution to the system that yields reduced rates of reoffending by the criminals. Several suggestions have been put forth, and some suggest Norwegian prison system for comparison to improve the rehabilitation effectiveness of the country’s prison system.
Thinking in the sociological context, it can be concluded easily that the American prisons give a threatening impression when analyzed from a critical perspective. The inmates are treated harshly and punished brutally in many cases (Howard, 2017). The severity of maltreatment becomes extremely unbearable in cases of serious crimes. Many social issues arise in the prisons. The discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and geography is becoming intolerable with time. Injustice is carried out in terms of discrimination, extreme punishments, and confinements for very long periods. It has been reported that nearly one third of African Americans have to remain behind the bars at least once in their life. Some aspects of the American prison system have still not been disclosed. There are several prisons the locations of which remain unknown to common people. In many cases, the prisoners are not allowed to see their families including their children. This is a very disappointing situation.
The most disturbing factor in American prisons is the way of punishing the inmates. Several reporters have given evidence of extremely brutal tortures imposed on the prisoners. The prisons in Alabama give ample evidence of this argument. The courts give account of crimes and violence carried out in different parts of the country; however, they remain indifferent to the inhumane treatment given to individuals behind the bars. The rights given to prisoners in the eighth amendment of criminal law have been seriously violated by the practices exercised in jails. Consequently, the criminals who have an experience of remaining confined in the American jails are most likely to recommit the crimes and get imprisoned again (Schartmueller, 2015). The rate of violence carried out between the prisoners is also becoming high every year.
The spending of the US government on the inmates of prisons is not comparable to other developed countries, as in Europe. A report says that the expenditure on retaining an individual in prison for one year nearly equals thirty one thousand dollars.
The prisoners are also not given the political rights. They cannot vote for the cause of democracy. It can be understood simply by looking into the conditions within prisons. A state wherein prisoners have made deprived of basic human rights of food, respect, and proper shelter cannot be expected to give them superior citizenship rights.
Benko, J. (2018). The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison: The Goal of the Norwegian Penal system is to get inmates out of it. NY Times Mag. Retrieved, 10.
Berger, R. (2016). Kriminalomsorgen: A Look at the World’s Most Humane Prison System in Norway. Available at SSRN 2883512.
Howard, M. M. (2017). Unusually Cruel: Prisons, Punishment, and the Real American Exceptionalism. Oxford University Press.
Schartmueller, D. (2015). Settling down behind bars: The extensive use of life sentences in Alabama. The Prison Journal, 95(4), 449–471.
Sterbenz, C. (2014). Why Norway’s prison system is so successful. Business Insider, 11.
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