Monthly Archives: November, 2013

The stigma perpetuated by the War on Drugs

As criticism of the War on Drugs continues to grow, it is essential to analyze the relationship drug policies have had on imprisonment and the impact of the methods used on social perceptions of drug use and substance abuse. In the 1980s, the U.S. held 150 prisoners for every 100,000 citizens. Today, 760 out of every 100,000 adults find themselves behind bars. The War on Drugs has been cited as the primary cause for this drastic increase. With rates significantly higher than all other developed nations combined, one has to question the tactics attributed to upholding the War on Drugs. Continue reading →

Incorporating the Scandinavian system

With the news that Sweden has reduced its overall prison population enough to warrant the closure of four prisons and a remand centre, the ‘liberal’ Scandinavian prison model is again under the spotlight. Countries like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are often lauded for their humane and distinct prison systems; Bastøy, Norway’s island prison, is often noted for its communal living quarters, extensive access for inmates to education, and, derisively by critics, its “holiday camp”-like atmosphere. Indeed, it appears that this system is at least partially effective – the Council of Europe’s study on Europe-wide rates of recidivism shows that Scandinavian countries have among the lowest rates of both re-offence and incarceration in the region. Continue reading →