skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 201908 Find in a Library
Title: Prison Populations as Political Constructs: The Case of Finland, Holland and Sweden
Journal: Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:2003  Pages:21-38
Author(s): Hanns Von Hofer
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 18
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Sweden
Annotation: This article explores the political meaning of the differences in prison populations in Sweden, Finland, and Holland.
Abstract: Despite sharing similarities in economic and social developments and having similar crime trends, the prison populations in Sweden, Finland, and Holland have developed differently over the past 50 years. The author discusses these diverse prison developments from the perspective that prison populations are political constructs. It is interesting to note that trends in the daily prison populations of these three countries do not reflect the trends of registered criminality in these countries. As such, it is postulated that prison trends are a function of criminal justice and social policies that either encourage or discourage the use of incarceration. The author offers a brief account of the criminal justice policies in Sweden, Finland, and Holland to illustrate how these policies impact the prison population in each country. The historical analysis shows how the increase in the prison population in Holland, the decrease in Finland, and the stability of the prison population in Sweden was a result of the fact that no strong opposition challenged the course of political policy in these countries. As such, the author concludes that political power and counter-power play an important role in the policies regarding the use of incarceration. References
Main Term(s): Incarceration; Policy analysis
Index Term(s): Criminal justice system policy; Finland; Netherlands; Sweden
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.