In “Prison is not for punishment in Sweden. We get people into better shape,” the director-general of Sweden’s Prison and Probation Services, Nils Oberg, explains how his country’s prison system functions. The article also compares Sweden’s and UK’s justice systems in regards to their operational processes. It provides insights into the key reasons for which Sweden’s prison system continues to excel while the UK’s remains struggling to overcome myriad of problems including overcrowding, self-shortages, and the increasing crimes.
According to the article, Sweden’s prison system focuses on rehabilitating prison. The goal of the country’s effective rehabilitation system is to prepare prisoners to get back to society. Oberg believes that having rehabilitation at the heart of the justice system has been instrumental for Sweden to reduce reoffending rate to as low as 40%. Indeed, emphasizing rehabilitation might be a primary reason for which Sweden is proving successful in transforming its criminal behavior. For example, effective rehabilitation process can change prisons into stable environments where prisoners gain essential skills, which make them employable. Accordingly, rehabilitation is vital to the shape behaviors of convicts.
Moreover, unlike in the UK, Swedish sentences are short, and individuals convicted by courts are viewed as people who need assistance rather than offenders that deserve punishment. No doubt, making prison terms shorter is a core strategic move to minimize overcrowding in prison. For example, while England and Wales are struggling to accommodate a vast population of 85,000 inmates, Sweden’s short sentencing plan enabled to reduce the number of prisoners from 5772 to 4500 (James, 2014).
Furthermore, the UK should learn from Swedish strict administrative policy, which allows no political interference on the justice system. As Oberg explains, they restrict politicians from interfering with decision-making in courts. Sweden has one of the best prison systems.
James, E. (2014). Prison is not for punishment in Sweden. We get people into better shape.’. The Guardian.