Soft on crime and proud of it

For an interesting (and sympathetic) look at the Finnish criminal justice system, see "Finland Is Soft on Crime" by Dan Gardner, originally published in Ottawa Citizen in 2002. I especially enjoyed this anecdote:

In the 1960s, Finland began edging cautiously toward reform, using its Scandinavian neighbors as models. Nils Christie, a renowned Norwegian criminologist, recalls speaking to Finnish judges and criminologists in Helsinki in 1968. At the time, Mr. Christie and others were developing the first international comparisons of prison populations, so he was the first to tell the Finns that their incarceration rate was totally unlike that of their Scandinavian neighbors and was "really in the Russian tradition." The audience was shocked, Mr Christie recalls in an interview in Ottawa, "and some of them then decided this was not a very good policy."

You have to admit that "Let's not be like Russia" is a pretty Finnish motive for social reforms.

(Link spotted on Bookforum.com.)

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