American Corrections Officials Are Visiting European Prison to Bring Home Innovative Ideas to Reduce Recidivism
Date:  11-05-2017

The model of rehabilitation instead of punishment, along with counseling and education, has been proven successful in several European countries
From The Marshall Project:

In August, when the solar eclipse passed over South Boise Women's Correctional Center in Idaho, the officers held lunch early, handed out protective sunglasses, and invited the women outside to watch the sky. At the Cheshire Correctional Institution in Connecticut, a few prisoners and officers recently played cards together; the warden seemed a little stunned when describing the scene. John Wetzel, who runs the prison system in Pennsylvania, has noticed a shift in tone at annual gatherings of his peers. “We talk more now about the humanity of inmates, and the impact of harsh environments on both staff and inmates,” he said. He doesn’t want to overstate the point; most U.S. prisons are still focused on security, reflecting a broader culture of punishment. (Wetzel himself has been criticized for not doing more to reduce his agency’s use of solitary confinement.) But when he considers these small moments around the country, he cites a surprising influence: Europe.

Since 2013, officials from at least a dozen states have toured prisons in Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands on official trips organized by the Prison Law Office and the Vera Institute of Justice. (We covered one such trip to Germany in 2015). Last month, Alaska and Oregon joined the list. The idea is to expose forward-thinking prison officials to places that embrace rehabilitation over punishment, coupling intensive counseling and education with an environment that mimics the world these men and women will rejoin at the end of their sentences. Throughout Western Europe, prisoners sleep in individual rooms with private bathrooms. They often wear their own clothes, cook their own food, and receive conjugal visits. They get paid enough in prison jobs so they have ample money to help them get set up when they leave. Continue reading >>>