What do a Norway prison and Portugal prison provide to their inmates that a US prison does not?
In Michael Moore’s new documentary, “Where to Invade Next,” he explores what it could be like if the U.S. implemented new ideas and policies that are currently utilized in other countries and uses a Norway prison and a Portugal prison as an example. His coverage of the criminal justice system included visits to Portugal and Norway, and a look at their prisons and punishment.
Nearly fifteen years ago, in response to a growing opiate misuse public health crisis, the government of Portugal shifted their entire approach to drug use away from arrest and punishment and towards public health.
The author, who served 12 years in prison for a first-time non-violent drug offense, was particularly moved by Moore’s coverage of maximum security prisons in Norway. Prisoners and prison guards act in harmony, as opposed to American prisons where prisoners are “treated like dirt”.
With further research I found out that Norway’s prison system is based on the concept of restorative justice, which repairs the harm caused by crime instead of punishing individuals. Prisoners are treated like human beings and live in a humane environment.
Norway focuses on rehabilitating prisoners instead of just warehousing them. Prisoners are armed with the skills needed to effectively reenter society when they are released.
This can be seen where Norway’s 20% recidivism rate is one of the lowest in the world, as compared to the United States where 76.6 % of prisoners are re-arrested within five years.
Perhaps the American criminal justice system can be improved by taking a good look at what is working in other countries, as shown in Michael Moore’s latest documentary. You can learn more about his film here: Where to Invade Next.
Read the entire article at Huffington Post.