Sweden Penal Systems

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Correctional Systems Compared United States vs Sweden Law enforcement varies from country to country as do debates about its effectiveness. This paper compares the Swedish and American penal systems with regard to prison management, types of criminals, prison designs and levels of security. It argues that based on the rates of recidivism, Sweden' s system is superior to that of the U.S. Discussion It is probably fair to say that the American penal system has switched from the idea of rehabilitation to that of punishment. The "three strikes" laws have filled up the nation's jails with people guilty of relatively minor offenses, causing overcrowding and frustration. In addition, the vigilante mood that overtook the country on 9/11 has led…show more content…
The Swedish population feels that there are those who are dangerous to society and want them locked up securely; however, they also note there is a need "to stick with our philosophy of humanization" (Alvarez, 2005). The escapees, by the way, were soon recaptured but not before the resignation of the Prison Service director; there were also calls for the Justice Minister, Thomas Rodstroem, to resign but he remained in his position (Alvarez, 2005). He did however begin a "comprehensive review of Sweden's prison system," including plans to build a "bunker-style prison for the most violent offenders," though the idea has since been dropped (Alvarez, 2005). The escapes in 2004 were the first made "from Sweden's maximum-security prisons in a decade," and Alvarez suggests that they are due to a "change in the prison population" (Alvarez, 2005). Sweden's prisons, like those in the U.S., are filled to capacity and holding inmates who are "savvier, bolder, more organized and more violent than in the past" (Alvarez, 2005). Prisoners are becoming better at…show more content…
In addition, Swedish prisons are now housing a growing number of "hard-boiled inmates from Eastern European countries," including a number of prisoners convicted on drug charges and a "record number of prisoners serving life sentences" (Alvarez, 2005). Although Rodstroem's plan for a bunker-like prison has been dropped, Sweden is planning to "upgrade the maximum-security wings of three prisons and to convert a fourth prison to high security" (Alvarez, 2005). The prison service has also developed new methods to curb escapes, most of which focus on reducing contact between prisoners and contacts outside the facility; the methods here include jamming calls on smuggled cell phones (Alvarez, 2005). The service also plans to rethink its longstanding policy, which is common in most European prisons, of having the guards intermingle closely with the prisoners (Alvarez, 2005). The theory is that when the inmates get to know the guards, and vice versa, the two build a relationship of trust, which also allows the guards to
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