ABSTRACT

In this chapter, I am going to concentrate not so much on whether a Swedish (or Scandinavian) exceptionalism exists or not, but on the question of how such an image has been produced. In the 1960s and 1970s, Sweden was seen as the model when it came to prison systems. American scholars and students made study tours to Swedish prisons. In this chapter I am going to describe how the Swedish prison bureaucracy – in a very determined, and no doubt skilful, way – produced the idea of Swedish prison policy as progressive and humane – in one word, ‘modern’ – to the American audience.