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The United States prison system is notorious for neglecting the basic needs of prisoners. In contrast, Northern European countries (e.g., Denmark, Norway, Netherlands) tend to have reputations for more humane prison systems. This comes from a difference of philosophy in the purpose of prisons, punishment versus rehabilitation. We are exploring the connection between policies and conditions to the recidivism rates of prisoners, as well as the effectiveness of their reintegration into society through comparison of both approaches. Some services we investigate are education, counseling, and drug related rehabilitation. We hypothesize that practices in the correctional systems impact rates of reoffending and the ability of former inmates to reintegrate into society. The comparison of these two approaches is a natural experiment, the results of which have the potential to influence carceral policies.



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Prison Systems in Northern Europe Versus the United States: Differences in Treatment and Success Rates