Just another day at the spa, right?
There’s apparently a big difference between how we treat prisoners at home here in America vs. how they’re treated in a country like Norway. If you take the YouTube video below at face value, it looks like a BIG difference:
So the question comes down to what you think matters more: retribution or rehabilitation?
Retribution is punishment inflicted on a person because the person committed a criminal offense. A conviction for premeditated, first-degree murder, for example, carries with it the strictest form of retribution – life in prison, in many cases, and in some states even the death penalty.
(If you’re curious, Ohio is a death penalty state, though no executions have actually taken place recently because of a difficulty in procuring drugs for lethal injections.)
Most people – at least on some level – intuitively understand the eye-for-an-eye logic of a stiff sentence in harsh prison conditions for someone proven to have callously committed murder.
On the other end of the spectrum is rehabilitation, which is reintegrating a person as a productive member of society (who is unlikely to recommit) after the person has served his or her time in prison.
The person who isn’t hardened by harsh prison conditions, and who has access to books and educational opportunities, may be more likely to reintegrate as a productive member of society.
Retribution and rehabilitation can co-exist – but in what way?
Of course, there are those who argue that retribution is exactly what is needed to rehabilitate, and that prison is not a place to be made nice and cozy for those who have committed crimes.
Norway might beg to differ.