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NCJ Number: 65410 Find in a Library
Title: OBSTACLES TO PRISON REFORM IN NORWAY
Journal: CENTER MAGAZINE  Dated:(JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1980)  Pages:25-32
Author(s): B BJORNSEN
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A NORWEGIAN CORRECTIONS REFORMER AND SEVERAL AMERICANS DISCUSS OBSTACLES AND APPROACHES TO PRISON REFORM IN NORWAY.
Abstract: BJORN BJORSEN, A LEADER IN NORWAY'S LABOR PARTY AND AN ADVOCATE OF THE ABOLITION OF PRISONS, HAS EXPERIENCED NUMEROUS SETBACKS IN TRYING TO PERSUADE THE PUBLIC AND POLITICAL LEADERS TO DEVELOP ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION FOR DEALING WITH OFFENDERS. THE EFFORT AT PRISON REFORM IN NORWAY HAS BEEN STYMIED BY THE PUBLIC'S AND POLITICIANS' LACK OF BELIEF IN THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ALTERNATIVES TO PRISON AS A MEANS OF REDUCING CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. WHILE NUMEROUS STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT PRISONS DO NOT GENERALLY REHABILITATE THE INMATES, THERE ARE NO CONVINCING STUDIES THAT CAN SHOW THE SUCCESS OF ALTERNATIVES. THE PUBLIC THUS APPEARS TO PREFER PRISON AS A SYMBOL OF THE CONSEQUENCE OF LAWBREAKING AND A MEANS OF INCAPACITATING IF NOT REHABILITATING OFFENDERS. THE RECOGNITION THAT CRIMINALITY HAS AN APPARENT IRREVERSIBLE CHARACTER WHICH TENDS TO UNDERMINE ALL REHABILITATION EFFORTS HAS LED MANY NORWEGIAN CORRECTIONS REFORMERS TO FOCUS UPON EARLY INTERVENTION IN THE FAMILIES OF HIGH-RISK CHILDREN BELOW THE AGE OF 10. THE AMERICAN ACADEMICIANS, IN RESPONDING TO BJORSEN'S DISCOURAGEMENT WITH LACK OF PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR THE ABOLITION OF PRISONS, ADVISE THAT THE PUBLIC STILL WANTS PRISONS AS A SYMBOL OF WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO SERIOUSLY DISOBEY THE LAW. HOWEVER, NORWAY IS COMMENDABLE FOR THE HUMANENESS OF ITS PRISONS, PARTICULARLY IN COMPARISON WITH UNITED STATES PRISONS. A SLOW, STEP-BY-STEP APPROACH TO REFORM WHICH ALLOWS FOR GRADUAL CHANGE IN PUBLIC OPINION AS ALTERNATIVES TO PRISON PROVE WORKABLE IS SUGGESTED BY SOME OF THE AMERICANS. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Correctional reform; Custody vs treatment conflict; Norway; Public Attitudes/Opinion
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65410

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