Edited by Henriette Sinding Aasen, Siri Gloppen, Anne-Mette Magnussen and Even Nilssen
Chapter 10: Penal hybridization: staff–prisoner relationships in a Norwegian drug rehabilitation unit
The Nordic countries have become known for their low rates of imprisonment and relatively humane prison conditions, a situation described as ‘Scandinavian exceptionalism’ (Pratt 2008; Pratt and Eriksson 2012). In the twenty-first century, there has been a shift in the Nordic criminal justice policy, whereby human rights discourses and rehabilitation policies play a greater role. Norwegian prisoners have the same rights to welfare services as other citizens, and are served by the same welfare agencies as ordinary citizens through the ‘principle of normalization’ (White Paper No. 37, 2007–08, p._22). In Norway, the newly introduced ‘reintegration guarantee’ emphasizes the mutual responsibilities of welfare agencies and the prison service in securing individually adapted help to obtain adequate housing, education or training, employment, health, social services and financial advice for prisoners upon release (White Paper No. 37, 2007–08). Rehabilitation of offenders is closely linked to the concept of social citizenship described in this book (see Introduction). Rehabilitation concerns attempts to help an offender return to and remain as a full member of society; the restoration of the individual’s status as a citizen and the rights and obligations that membership confers (McWilliams and Pease 1990, p._15; Priestley and Vanstone 2010, p._1). However, rehabilitation is also commonly justified on utilitarian grounds (that is, reducing the level of crime in society), and fulfillment of the rights to rehabilitation are subordinated to the prison’s primary aim of providing security. Hence, rehabilitation of offenders involves a balancing of different principles, laws and interests (Lewis 2005).
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