chapter  5
Abolitionism and reform: a possible combination? Notes on a Norwegian experiment
Pages 11

The experiment is based on the reforms since the 1970s, all following an ideal of improving the position of the individual and his or her integrity, though in praxis improvements are still forthcoming. In a criminal law perspective, the crime is exceptional and entirely dominates the understanding of events and happenings. By using a sociological perspective on prisoners another view appears, which is about poverties. Prisoners need help to sort out dwelling, income, activities, health care and somebody to meet with for rehabilitation. If answers and solutions define the problem, then prisoners' problems clearly are poverties in all variations, as research indicates. This is the Norwegian contribution to discussions on reforms and abolitionism: that prisons are for punishment and should be discussed as such; that reforms implying services from other institutions in society should, self-evidently, be implemented for prisoners. But when services are implemented they must never compromise, but keep their aims, professional and administrative bases.