[2023] After reading Slaters Prison Break article, which discusses both the Norwegian prison system and the Prison Chief Bertsch’s application of those principles

After reading Slaters Prison Break article, which discusses both the Norwegian prison system and the Prison Chief Bertsch’s application of those principles

After reading Slaters Prison Break article, which discusses both the Norwegian prison system and the Prison Chief Bertsch’s application of those principles

After reading Slater’s Prison Break article, which discusses both the Norwegian prison system and the Prison Chief Bertsch’s application of those principles in the NDDCR, discuss the following points:

  • What is your opinion of Leann Bertsch’s attempt to model the North Dakota state prison system after the Norway prison system?
  • Do you believe the Norwegian prison model is working the same in North Dakota as it is in Norway?
  • What are the possible benefits and consequences of modeling the NDDCR state prison system after the Norwegian prison?
  • Are these benefits sustainable over time?
  • Do you believe the consequences could eventually lead to long-term problems?

After posting your comments, respond to at least two other students while explaining whether or not you agree with their views on changing their states’ prison systems to reflect the philosophies, programs, and services offered under the Norwegian prison system.

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Problems with Norway Prison System


The Norway prison system has gained international attention for its unique approach to incarceration, focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment. While it has been praised for its progressive policies, it is not without its challenges. In this article, we will explore the problems faced by Norway’s prison system and examine how they are being addressed.

Overview of the Norway Prison System

Norway’s prison system operates on the principle of normality, aiming to create an environment that resembles life outside prison as much as possible. Inmates are provided with private cells, access to education and vocational training, and opportunities for recreation. The system emphasizes the importance of human rights and dignity, with a focus on preparing prisoners for successful reintegration into society.

Rehabilitation and Focus on Human Rights

One of the key strengths of the Norway prison system is its emphasis on rehabilitation. Inmates are given the opportunity to acquire education and vocational skills, enabling them to find meaningful employment upon release. The system also prioritizes mental health support and provides various rehabilitation programs to address the underlying causes of criminal behavior.

Challenges Faced by Norway’s Prison System

Despite its progressive approach, the Norway prison system faces several challenges. Overcrowding and capacity issues have become a concern in some facilities, straining resources and limiting the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs. Balancing punishment and rehabilitation is another challenge, as some argue that the focus on rehabilitation may not adequately address the needs of victims or provide sufficient deterrence.

The Role of Education and Vocational Training

Education and vocational training play a crucial role in the Norway prison system. Inmates have access to various educational programs, including literacy courses, high school equivalency programs, and university-level courses. Vocational training in fields such as carpentry, culinary arts, and mechanics equips inmates with practical skills, increasing their chances of finding employment after release.

Mental Health Support and Rehabilitation Programs

Addressing mental health issues is an integral part of the Norway prison system. Inmates receive psychological assessments, counseling, and therapy to address underlying mental health conditions that may contribute to their criminal behavior. Rehabilitation programs specifically tailored to address substance abuse, anger management, and other behavioral issues are also provided.

Addressing Recidivism Rates

Reducing recidivism rates is a significant challenge for any prison system, including Norway’s. While the emphasis on rehabilitation has shown promising results, there is still work to be done. Norway’s prison system continues to evaluate and improve its programs to better support inmates’ reintegration into society, providing mentorship, follow-up support, and assistance with finding housing and employment upon release.

Alternatives to Incarceration

Norway’s prison system recognizes the value of alternatives to traditional incarceration. Community-based sentences, such as electronic monitoring, probation, and community service, are used to divert individuals away from prison when appropriate. These alternatives allow individuals to remain connected to their families and communities while addressing their offenses.

Restorative Justice Practices

Restorative justice practices have also gained prominence within Norway’s prison system. These practices aim to repair the harm caused by crime by bringing together victims, offenders, and the community. Through dialogue and mediation, restorative justice offers opportunities for reconciliation, healing, and reintegration.

International Perspective on Norway’s Prison System

Norway’s prison system has drawn attention from around the world, with many countries studying its approach. Some have implemented similar principles, while others have adapted elements of the Norwegian model to fit their own systems. The international perspective on Norway’s prison system highlights its potential for reform and inspires discussions on reimagining the purpose of incarceration.

Criticisms and Controversies

Despite its positive aspects, the Norway prison system has faced criticisms and controversies. Some argue that the emphasis on rehabilitation overlooks the importance of punishment and retribution. There are concerns that the system may be too lenient on serious offenders, potentially undermining public safety. These criticisms reflect ongoing debates about the goals and effectiveness of prison systems.


The Norway prison system stands as a unique and progressive model, focusing on rehabilitation, human rights, and dignity. While it has its share of challenges, such as overcrowding and balancing punishment and rehabilitation, it continues to evolve and adapt. By prioritizing education, vocational training, mental health support, and alternative sentencing options, Norway’s prison system seeks to address the root causes of criminal behavior and reduce recidivism rates.

Why Is Norway’s Prison System So Successful?

Norway’s prison system has gained global recognition for its remarkable success in rehabilitating offenders and reducing recidivism rates. Unlike many other countries, Norway’s approach focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment, aiming to reintegrate prisoners into society as law-abiding citizens. This article explores the key factors contributing to the success of Norway’s prison system, highlighting the innovative strategies that have garnered international attention.

Rehabilitation as the Core Principle

At the heart of Norway’s prison system lies a core principle: rehabilitation. The Norwegian authorities believe that every person has the potential for change and that providing the necessary support and guidance can help individuals break the cycle of crime. Instead of simply incarcerating offenders, the system aims to address the underlying causes of criminal behavior, helping prisoners develop skills and attitudes that facilitate their reintegration into society upon release.

Decentralization and Small Prisons

One notable aspect of Norway’s prison system is its decentralized nature. Instead of large, overcrowded prisons, Norway emphasizes smaller correctional facilities. This approach allows for a more personalized and humane treatment of prisoners. Small prisons provide an environment that fosters meaningful relationships between inmates and staff, promoting a sense of community and individual attention.

Embracing Normalcy

Norway’s prison system places great emphasis on normalizing the prison experience. Prisoners are encouraged to lead a life as close to normalcy as possible. They have access to various amenities, such as communal kitchens, shared living spaces, and recreational facilities. By maintaining connections with the outside world, including family and friends, prisoners can maintain a sense of identity and purpose, which plays a vital role in their rehabilitation journey.

Education and Skills Development

Education and vocational training programs play a pivotal role in Norway’s prison system. Inmates are provided with opportunities to pursue educational qualifications and acquire practical skills that increase their employability upon release. By investing in education and skills development, Norway aims to break the cycle of crime and equip prisoners with the tools they need to reintegrate successfully into society.

Restorative Justice Practices

Another key element of Norway’s approach to criminal justice is the implementation of restorative justice practices. Rather than focusing solely on punishment, the system encourages offenders to take responsibility for their actions and actively participate in repairing the harm caused by their crimes. Restorative justice not only benefits victims but also allows offenders to gain a deeper understanding of the consequences of their actions, fostering empathy and personal growth.

Low Recidivism Rates

One of the most compelling indicators of Norway’s prison system success is its remarkably low recidivism rates. By prioritizing rehabilitation and providing comprehensive support during and after incarceration, Norway has managed to significantly reduce the likelihood of reoffending. This achievement demonstrates that an approach centered on rehabilitation and societal reintegration is highly effective in breaking the cycle of crime.

Supportive Environment and Staff

A supportive and compassionate environment within prisons is crucial to the success of Norway’s approach. Prison staff members undergo extensive training to provide a rehabilitative and empathetic approach to the inmates. They play a pivotal role in fostering positive change by building trust, offering guidance, and assisting prisoners in their journey toward rehabilitation. The dedication and professionalism of the staff contribute significantly to the success of Norway’s prison system.

Public Opinion and Political Will

The success of Norway’s prison system can also be attributed to the alignment of public opinion and political will. Norwegian society values the principles of rehabilitation, and there is widespread support for prioritizing the reintegration of offenders into society. The government’s commitment to progressive policies and investments in the rehabilitation process further reinforce the effectiveness of the system.

Criticisms and Challenges

While Norway’s prison system has gained international acclaim, it is not without its criticisms and challenges. Some argue that the comfortable conditions provided to prisoners may appear too lenient and fail to adequately punish serious offenders. Additionally, there are ongoing discussions about the best practices for handling certain types of offenders, such as those convicted of violent crimes. However, Norway continues to evaluate and refine its system to address these concerns while maintaining its focus on rehabilitation.

International Influence and Lessons Learned

Norway’s prison system has inspired other countries to reconsider their approaches to criminal justice. The success of Norway’s system serves as a valuable lesson in shifting the focus from punishment to rehabilitation. By prioritizing human dignity, providing meaningful opportunities for personal growth, and promoting a sense of responsibility, countries around the world can learn from Norway’s progressive model to create more effective and humane prison systems.


Norway’s prison system’s success stems from its commitment to rehabilitation, normalcy, education, restorative justice, and a supportive environment. By prioritizing the well-being and development of prisoners, Norway has achieved impressively low recidivism rates and fostered positive societal reintegration. The lessons learned from Norway’s approach can inspire other countries to adopt more compassionate and effective prison systems that prioritize rehabilitation and contribute to safer communities.


1. Are Norway’s prisons like luxury resorts?

No, Norway’s prisons are not luxurious resorts. While they provide amenities aimed at normalizing the prison experience, such as communal living spaces and recreational facilities, the focus remains on rehabilitation and societal reintegration rather than providing excessive comfort.

2. Does Norway’s prison system benefit taxpayers?

Yes, Norway’s prison system benefits taxpayers in the long run. By investing in rehabilitation and reducing recidivism rates, the system contributes to safer communities, lowers the costs of repeat offenses, and increases the chances of prisoners becoming productive members of society, thus reducing the burden on taxpayers.

3. Are serious criminals treated leniently in Norway?

Norway’s approach to serious criminals is not about leniency but about rehabilitation. While offenders are given opportunities for growth and reintegration, their sentences and the conditions of their confinement are determined based on the severity of their crimes and the need for public safety.

4. Does Norway’s approach work for all types of offenders?

Norway’s approach is designed to be adaptable and inclusive. It recognizes that different offenders may require different interventions and programs based on their individual needs. The focus on rehabilitation and reintegration is applicable to a wide range of offenders, aiming to address the underlying causes of criminal behavior.

5. How does Norway ensure the safety of its citizens with a focus on rehabilitation?

Norway maintains a strong emphasis on public safety alongside rehabilitation. While providing opportunities for personal growth, prisoners are closely monitored, and risk assessments are conducted to ensure the safety of both inmates and society. The goal is to reintegrate offenders into society as law-abiding citizens while minimizing the risk of reoffending.

After reading Slaters Prison Break article, which discusses both the Norwegian prison system and the Prison Chief Bertsch’s application of those principles

After reading Slaters Prison Break article




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