ABSTRACT

The thesis that Scandinavia exhibits an exceptionally humane penal culture in terms of both ‘low rates of imprisonment and humane prison conditions’ (Pratt 2008a) is interesting and clearly relevant for discussion. It is, for example, interesting as a piece of comparative penology – how can we analyse and compare different penal cultures, and what can we learn from such an exercise? One possible answer to the latter question, which also justifies looking into a possible Scandinavian penal exceptionalism, is the need to identify good prison practice across jurisdictions. Prison practices which, for example, can be promoted by international and national human rights-monitoring mechanisms.