The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison

Ragnar Kristoffersen, an anthropologist who trains Norway’s correctional officers, quoted in a fascinating NYTimes piece about a different kind of maximum security prison:

He leaned back in his chair and went on. “We like to think that treating inmates nicely, humanely, is good for the rehabilitation. And I’m not arguing against it. I’m saying two things. There are poor evidence saying that treating people nicely will keep them from committing new crimes. Very poor evidence.”

He paused. “But then again, my second point would be,” he said, “if you treat people badly, it’s a reflection on yourself.”

Leave a Reply