Lessons from European Prisons

Lessons from European Prisons

November 7, 2013 | by Editorial Board | The New York Times

european_prisons

Unlike American Prisons, many European prisons emphasize social reintegration and rehabilitation rather than punishment when dealing with prisoners. In February, a group of American corrections officials, judges, prosecutors, and public defenders visited prisons in Germany and the Netherlands to learn about the conditions and practices within these countries’ prison systems.

Unlike American Prisons, many European prisons emphasize social reintegration and rehabilitation rather than punishment when dealing with prisoners. In February, a group of American corrections officials, judges, prosecutors, and public defenders visited prisons in Germany and the Netherlands to learn about the conditions and practices within these countries’ prison systems. A new report based on the group’s research examines the European alternatives to prison such as fines, probation, and other community-service programs. As the report suggests, a closer look at the European prison system, which averages a much shorter prison term and has much lower recidivism rates, may help to rethink America’s prison system for the better.

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