Kan åbne fængsler fungere i udviklingslande?
Mål 16: Fred og retfærdighed
Af Amos Chemuna
The new sustainable development goals establishes the concept of social inclusiveness, “a society for all”, as one of the key goals of development. An inclusive society is a “society for all in which every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, has an active role to play”.
Such an inclusive society must be based on respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, cultural and religious diversity, social justice and the special needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, democratic participation and the rule of law. It is promoted by social policies that seek to reduce inequality and create flexible and tolerant societies that embrace all people.
This blog focuses on how the Danish prison system attempts to promote the concept of inclusiveness in the society, and the discussion are based on the findings of the super17 visit to Pensionen Brøndbyhus - a special kind of prison, where prisoners can serve in a more open imprisonment, and where they can have a job or educate themselves at the same time.
The institutions core philosophy is the theory of rehabilitation as opposed to theory of retribution. Where it encourages to solve the problems, that led an individual to crime rather than punishing the crime itself. It works to reintegrate criminals back into society.
The features of this system are based on the idea of “normalization,” where the prisoner’s environment closely resembles the outside world that they will ideally return to and function in.
The residents live in open prisons with no walls and different security features compared to what we normally associate with prisons.
The residents attend classes, work, and even do their own shopping and cooking. Married couples are often allowed to live together and even with their children if under three years old. The results, of the institution beliefs, is an extremely low rate of relapse, and that inmates are able to go from prison to everyday life.
In comparison with Kenya, Denmark has 73 prisoners for every 100,000 residents, while Kenya has 130. Denmark has a recidivism rate of 27 percent while Kenya has one of 47 percent.
Of course the worry is whether the system is too soft. While this subject is up for discussion among the super17 participants, the Danish model of open prisons does seem to have an effective way of promoting the goal of achieving inclusiveness in the society.
The real question should be on its adaptation in other countries. The Danes live in a country with very low poverty, a low income gap and one of the world’s best social safety nets. Is the success of the Danish model something that can only work in such a society, or should we be experimenting with it in other countries?