Prisons in Finland

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Flossy1978
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Re: Prisons in Finland

Post by Flossy1978 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:48 am

I've seen a documentary on prisons here too....

I guess it depends on the prison. But in the documentary I was watching, they lived in houses and did all kinds of things. They had it better than us poor folk who go out to work and live in !"#¤% little flats LOL.

They're all about reforming even the worse of the worse of inmates. In that way it's good. But from watching the documentary I did, I wanna go to prison LOL.



Re: Prisons in Finland

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Oombongo
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Re: Prisons in Finland

Post by Oombongo » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:14 am

Flossy1978 wrote:I've seen a documentary on prisons here too....

I guess it depends on the prison. But in the documentary I was watching, they lived in houses and did all kinds of things. They had it better than us poor folk who go out to work and live in !"#¤% little flats LOL.

They're all about reforming even the worse of the worse of inmates. In that way it's good. But from watching the documentary I did, I wanna go to prison LOL.
Just show up in very naughty cosplay clothing near a kindergarden, and you will probably end up in prison in no time :mrgreen:
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Adrian42
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Re: Prisons in Finland

Post by Adrian42 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:38 am

A country can either go the US way and spend huge amounts of money on keeping as many people as possible in jail, or the Scandinavian way of aiming at having people not committing any crimes after they come out of prison (and save a lot of money due to less people being in prison).

In relation to the population, there are 10 times more people in US prisons than in Scandinavian prisons.

A more recent documentary on a prison in Norway that achieves a very low rate of crimes of prisoners who got released after having served their sentences:


faronel
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Re: Prisons in Finland

Post by faronel » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:50 pm

Completely agree with Adrian. As a responsible lecturer on the topic of correction psychology at the university where I used to work before moving to Finland, I will add a few things that, I hope, will help you understand the idea a little bit better.

1) "Tough is good. When we punish bad guys, others will be scared to do bad things". Not true! American "getting tough" approach has failed miserably here, since when cross-referencing between-states and within-states-against-time, we see that crime is lower where there are no such policies like Three Strikes Law, Truth in Sentencing, Boot camps, Scared straight etc, in comparison to places where there are these policies introduced into the legal system.
2) "Tough is good. When we punish bad guys, these bad guys will be afraid to commit new crimes". Not true. Longer sentences are positively correlated with increased re-offending probability. Besides, there are things happening on the inside too. The crime from street just shifted into between the walls of prison, to the place that is hidden from the public eye.
3) "Tough is good. When we punish bad guys more, we save more money". USA penal system's budget is second biggest, only after MedicAid. Funny to think that you need more money to simply punish bad guys than teach your children. With increasing average sentencing time, the costs increase also dramatically, however, all the fiscal calculations show that to reduce serious crime only by 6%, we need to increase spending money on penal system five times. Last but not least, secondary expenses such as victim support, offender-provider's family benefits etc - these are rarely taken into consideration.
4) "Tough is good. When we punish bad guys, we serve justice." 27 years for 150 dollars worth CD-player as a third strike? Life without parole for escaping police? African-Americans and other racial minorities receiving much harsher treatment after the War of Drugs began? Long way from justice, my friends.

Not taking into consideration the problems with the psychological perspective on why the tough, meaningless punishment fails...

The Scandinavian system may seem "too soft" and "too expensive (at the moment when the money is being invested)", but it is the true social justice: offenders learn how to cope with life without crime and society benefits from having less crime and actually saving tax payers money in the long run. Of course, I am not too naive, there are some problems even with the Scandinavian approach but currently it is the flagship of offender (true) rehabilitation in the world.


faronel
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Re: Prisons in Finland

Post by faronel » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:11 am

P.S. Here is a video of The Young Turks talking about Norwegian prison system. Although, generally, I like the show but this particular episode reflects very well how even second generation Turkish can be brainwashed by a Wild-west/religious "an eye for an eye" ideology. They [the mainstream Americans] are struggling to see beyond their need for justice that is simply defined as punishing the wrongdoer.



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Matt90
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Re: Prisons in Finland

Post by Matt90 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:12 pm

I believe that Finland (and the other Nordic countries as well) are dealing with crime the right way. It may seem expensive and it may seem to others that the prisoners are "living in luxury". But remember, most of these people are let out again, and of course we would like for them not to commit more crimes - it makes it safer for all of us. Besides, I think everyone deserves a second chance. Even criminals.
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Re: Prisons in Finland

Post by Upphew » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:50 pm

Matt90 wrote:I believe that Finland (and the other Nordic countries as well) are dealing with crime the right way. It may seem expensive and it may seem to others that the prisoners are "living in luxury". But remember, most of these people are let out again, and of course we would like for them not to commit more crimes - it makes it safer for all of us. Besides, I think everyone deserves a second chance. Even criminals.
Agreed. Although 4th or 5th chance might suggest that person would be better off behind bars.
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faronel
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Re: Prisons in Finland

Post by faronel » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:11 pm

Upphew wrote:Although 4th or 5th chance might suggest that person would be better off behind bars.
In some quite unique and special cases I agree with your notion, Upphew. However, there are some really important arguments against that.

1) High-risk offenders (i.e. repeated recidivists, many problems with coping in life) benefit from an intensive community-based (i.e. outside prison walls) rehabilitation much more than low risk offenders (i.e. first timers, fairly capable per se individuals). The key to success it the right approach (what problematic areas to target and how to target those, e.g. criminal attitudes, close ties to criminal associates, criminal personality traits, well-conditioned criminal behavior etc). Having first-hand experience with prison policy reforms, I have seen repeatedly the enormous pressure from prison administration to provide more rehabilitation to low-risk inmates (because they comply with the rules, attend all the compulsory rehabilitation programs, and, then, there is this "common sense" belief that "this way we save those who are yet worth saving"), while excluding high-risk inmates from the rehabilitation (because "they don't have any issues", i.e. have a low level of motivation to change; security measures for prison staff, i.e. guards and security planners are afraid that impulsive and violent men put in one group would turn it instantly into a massacre etc). As a result of this pressure, the approach fails because: 1) the more you have issues, the more you would benefit from better treatment (this is like giving a good nutrition plan, schooling, computer with access to internet, loving parents, comprehensive health coverage, safe environment etc to an African child from a poor area, compared giving all this to a Finnish child who already has most of it - and then look, for example, at the level of general IQ of the individual when he or she is an adult); 2) I can't explain why but research shows that there more you force low-level inmates participate in intensive rehabilitation, the higher the recidivism probability is for this group.
All in all, the problem with 4th or 5th return to prison is most often associated with a poor approach to the offender. He or she never received the proper rehabilitation. However, as the research suggests, those who did come back 4th or 5th time and did get the proper rehabilitation, have an enormous reduction in recidivism rates.

2) How would you treat a person behind bars when you decide that his or her release should be cancelled and life imprisonment should be forced upon? Integrated into general population, separated (solitary confinement or his/her own "kind")? Benefits? Cuts? Rehab approach? etc... Many variables to consider, too many ethical, moral and scientific dilemmas. :)

To be honest, the entire prison concept sucks balls big times. First, as an original idea, prisons served a purpose of a temporary confinement until the true punishment was served (i.e. keeping a bandit in a dungeon until somebody cuts off his or her head or something along that line). It was only after the humanist movement, some governments decided that maybe they should change corporal punishment with a simple prison sentence. The whole idea was still based solely on a retribution purpose ("a sinner pays for his sins"). Even now, when contemporary criminal law policy makers try to switch to a more humane, rehabilitation-oriented approach, they still screw up by defining the length of a prison sentence for any given offense (i.e. theft = up to 2 years in prison, with the exact penalty being set by the judge).
Prison is a rudimentary artifact with no great rehabilitation potential for its "clients". The only solution I see is to build highly-integrated-into-society slightly more guarded social houses that wouldn't be called as "prisons" anymore either, while entire approach is to help to integrate an individual back into the society with the best methods available. This idea is REALLY expensive but when we look at some Norwegian prisons that are very close models to the ones presented in this model, and this actually works.

In the beginning, I mentioned that I agreed with Upphew to an extent. Yes, there are cases of serial killers and other offenders with extremely high dangerousness risk such as high-end recidivists with high psychopathy scores and violence tendencies... I have hard time thinking of a proper rehab for them, these guys are better kept off the streets...


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