1. souse, n.5: 3. A drunkard. slang (chiefly U.S.). (OED)
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Everything is Better (if not bigger) in Sweden

Via Matt, here's an article that describes how three Isreali prisoners, jailed in Sweden, refused extradition to Israel. Why? Because Swedish prison Rocks!

Every prisoner has his own cell with a television airing the World Cup games for free; every six months, the prisoner gets to tour the streets of Stockholm accompanied by a police car; and the highlight – every prisoner has a the right to a three-day conjugal right in a three-room luxury apartment in the prison. ... The prisoners provided him with multiple and diverse reasons for their decision: The prison cell is sparkling clean, and over the weekend the prison does not serve food and each prisoner is allowed to order a variety of raw materials at a limited budget in order to fix himself a meal. One of the Israelis even told the consul that every Saturday he prepares great steaks for his fellow prisoners.

The shit would HIT THE FAN if an article like this came out about American prisons. Of course, the Swedes are fine with it, because, as Matt describes:

as I understand it, the Swedish system basically understands criminal activity as overwhelmingly stemming from substance abuse problems, mental illness, and lack of labor market problems. Consequently, though the prisoners are certainly closely supervised, the conditions in prison are extremely humane and not especially “punitive.” The emphasis is on trying to help people with their problems and trying to ensure that dangerous people aren’t out and about on the streets.

Wow, that is SO dumb. By way of contrast, our prisons are teh awesome in terms of utter suckitude, as any fan of Oz knows. And this must be a good thing, right, because it would discourage people from wanting to be in prison (like in Sweden). So as quick test, how do you think Swedish incarceration rates compare to the US?

US incarceration rate: 1 in 100, about 2.3 million in 2007.
Swedish rate: 0.082 per 100 in 2005/6. I'm no mathlete, but it looks like we have twelve times the incarceration rate.

We sure show them!

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