My Perfect Country: Norway
How has Norway managed to have the lowest rate of prisoners reoffending in Europe, and one of the lowest in the world? Their policy revolves around the fact that the justice system see taking their citizen’s freedom away as punishment enough, and prisoners are expected to carry on a life as similar to normal society as possible. As a result, high-quality education is given to inmates – as well as opportunities to work, to receive mental health support, and remain self-sufficient by cooking their own meals. This support is further strengthened by the prison guards who are some of the most highly-trained in the world and who are encouraged to spend time with inmates. The Norway government also brought in top architects and asked them to redesign prisons from scratch – focusing on decreasing any tension or conflict between inmates. Upon release, inmates are given significant help to reintegrate back into society – as help is provided for them to find both housing and employment.
However, the policy is not without criticism as some detractors view Norway’s prisons as too luxurious, and questions are also raised over why Norway needed to rent space in Dutch prisons in 2015.
(Photo: The interior of a cell at the Norgerhaven prison in Veenhuizen, The Netherlands. Credit: Catrinus van der Veen/AFP)