Norway almost 10 times lesser than United States
Where Prison Inmates are treated as Human Beings
As clear as the title is, Norway indeed has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and one of the most humane criminal systems of the world. It is very famous in the criminal system of countries and the policy followed by Norway is often regarded as the “Norwegian Model” in the international forum. As of 2017, its prison population was 3933 and the prison population rate was 74 per 100,000 people, which is almost 10 times lesser than United States that has a prison population rate of 707 per 100,000 people. Women prisoners took 6.1% of the prison population, minors comprised of 0.1% and foreigner prisoners took 30.5% of the total prisoner population. The trend of the number of prisoners as well as prisoner population rate of Norway is graphed below-
Norway also has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world to about 20% and it is because of the efficiency of the country’s justice system that once a prisoner comes out, they stay out. However in United States, 74% of the prisoners are rearrested in 5 years due to lack of good standard of living after jail time and hence resorting to unlawful means to sustain them. Most of the crimes are theft related in Norway and the severe ones include drug trafficking. Life sentencing was abolished in 1909 in Norway. The Correction System of Norway believes that surrendering an individual’s freedom is the biggest punishment of all and that they need to be treated in a humane manner rather than treating them as street animals. There are three levels of Prison in Norway – Transitional Housing, Low Security Level and the High security level. Money is financed in increasing order to each of these prisons respectively. Most of the prisoners are kept in Low Security Level.
Norway’s system is definitely doing something that is more efficient than other ones because it is noticed that, once a person goes to jail, they don’t return. The efficiency in the system is because of a concept called – “restorative justice”. In this, the inmates are trained and prepared for a life after the Jail time, which basically shows that the country focuses on development rather than punishment. For them, the fact that they took the freedom away for the individual is the biggest punishment and that’s why Norway doesn’t follow the concept of death sentencing. Even for the most severe crime, the maximum jail time is 21 years. The Halden Prison, one of the most prisons of Norway is facility of 75 acres and tries to provide another home to people. Even Baston. Another important prison focuses to develop skills among inmates so that they can make a living after that period. Norway’s prison administration – Department of Corrections, believes that prisoners shouldn’t be treated as animals and that they need to given as much attention as those given to infants. Their whole day is planned by the Correctional Services and if they aren’t indulging in an activity that is educational, recreational or productive, then they are supposed to sit in their prison and meditate. Their prisons are also checked once a day and very minimal personal item are given to them. In fact, they have a payment system where they earn money in the facility and buy personal things from a small store that has only certain survival commodities. The basic idea of the correctional system is to create a healthy and loving environment for the prisoners where they feel belonged and feel that they can be better humans. In fact, a lot of studies and research has shown that strict punishment actually increases recidivism and further criminal offense. Norway’s correctional system is quite alien to the Americans only because Norway believes in taking care of it’s people who have taken the wrong path whereas the Americans believe that such people should either be wiped out of should be made to pay for the damage caused by making them suffer. The harshness of the American Correctional System is discussed on various international platforms and is often regarded as cruel too.
Norway has one of the highest GDP’s in the world and this is also evident by the amount they spend on maintaining its correctional system. As of 2017 reports, Norway spends $93,000per inmate per year whereas US only spends $31,000 per inmate. Norway is in a good position to provide this thanks to all the profit it earns from oil production. The Department of Corrections works with the other ministries of the country to provide better social security to inmates by securing them a job, a home and a more supportive society before they are being released. It also takes care of their education, healthcare and old-age security. If United States prisoner population rate were as low as Norway’s, they would save over $50 billion a year.
The prison system of Norway is financed from the taxpayer’s pockets and is managed completely by government authorities.
The cost borne by the government in my opinion is completely justified as compared to the benefit that is received by the people of Norway. The Correction department focuses on “dynamic security” that is building a healthier relationship between the officers and inmates that ensures more security and ordnance in the prison. This concept keeps the inmates away from feelings of hatred and envy thereby making them more positive about life. The officers talk to them as well as do activities with the prisoners to make them feel that they have a family inside the facility of prison. The inmates are also trained professionally in woodcutting and cooking (certificates are provided to them) thereby making them eligible for employment after prison life. These benefits obviously account for a lot to the prisoners as well as the society since employers get skilled labor after inmates are released. Time isn’t wasted and it’s being used to train inmates, which is a benefit that accounts for a lot. The social security benefits that are received by each inmate are probably higher than the cost paid by the government. Also, the fact that these inmates actually look forward to a brighter future, they learn from their mistakes and don’t resort to criminal activities promises a healthier, more lawful and a safer environment to the other citizens of the country as well.
The fact that crime rates are so low in Norway and that once a person comes out of jail, they always stay out speaks a lot about the efficiency of Norway’s Correctional System. A lot of countries have adopted the “Norwegian Model” and a lot of them are considering it too.