Academic level – Undergraduate 3-4
Type of paper – Research paper
Topic Title – Correctional systems compare and contrast
Pick a country of your choice, discuss its CRJ/Correctional system, what you like and don’t like about it, comparing and contrasting it with US.
The diversity of correctional systems across countries is a result of different social, political, and cultural environments; however, even the developed states have a broad range of different approaches to criminal behavior. Notably, the Norwegian procedure of correction is significantly different from the U.S. model. Understanding their differences can help promote transparency and information sharing. The Norwegian correctional system is much more effective than the U.S. because it has lower recidivism rates and humane treatment of offenders and reintegrates them into society.
The Norwegian correctional system is one of the most effective in the world and is characterized by restorative justice principles and preservation of the offenders’ rights. It is viewed as one of the most effective correctional systems in the world due to its ban on cruel treatment. It also has low rates of recidivism (20%); its core values are openness, respect, commitment, and professionalism (About the Norwegian correctional system, 2020). Aside from restricting the liberty of the inmates, this system preserves all the other individuals’ rights and freedoms, including access to education, healthcare, and the right to vote. The longest time for imprisonment in Norway is 21 years, excluding military crimes. The inmates receive all the rights to remain in society, with the maximum possibility of living with their families. The only disadvantage of this model is its higher cost because every individual in Norway is regarded as an investment.
Nonetheless, the U.S. correctional system relies on the notion of punishment and is one of the least effective systems among developed countries. It has an extremely high incarceration rate, and most inmates never receive help in reintegration into the community. The offenders can receive probation, community service, imprisonment, or death penalty. Nonetheless, the current U.S. correctional system is so heavily reliant on punishment that it had 2.1 incarcerated individuals in 2018 (Travis & Western, 2021). It is believed that the U.S. system is highly unfair and does not focus on protecting the inmates, instead labeling them as dangerous. Interestingly, some sources emphasize that such high rates of incarceration are caused by effective documentation (U.S. correctional system, 2023). However, it places a significant burden on governmental funding.
Although both Norway and the U.S. allow imprisonment, community service, and probation, the Norwegian correctional system is much more effective than the American. Unlike Norway, the U.S. has much harsher punishments and does not offer reliability on restorative justice aside from minor offenses. Both systems require significant investments from the federal government, but their outcomes are highly unequal. While rates of incarceration do not significantly decrease in the U.S., Norway has a small number of offenders deprived of prison, and similar efficiency is seen in the recidivism probability. Moreover, the death penalty and life imprisonment make the U.S. correctional model harsher than the Norwegian one, which allows life imprisonment for military crimes only. Perhaps the American reliability on punishment as justice can be emotionally justified by the victims’ families, but its objective productivity is low.
Concluding, the comparison of Norwegian and American correctional structures reveals a failure of the U.S. to provide a healthier and more humane treatment of the offenders, which damages their social adaptation. Despite the cost, the Norwegian system profits from having lower crime rates and helping people return to their families. The U.S. criminal justice may benefit from analyzing the Norwegian case and changing its damaging practices.
About the Norwegian correctional service. Kriminalomsorgen. (2023). https://www.kriminalomsorgen.no/information-in-english.265199.no.html
Johnson, T. R., & Simon, J. (2021, April 13). The era of punitive excess. Brennan Center for Justice. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/era-punitive-excess
U.S. correctional system. Correctional Officer. (2023). https://www.correctionalofficer.org/us-correctional-system