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Icelandic Prisoners Least Likely to Be Reincarcerated

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Icelandic Prisoners Least Likely to Be Reincarcerated

Photo: Ed Gregory.

Nowhere in the Nordic countries are prisoners less likely to be reincarcerated than in Iceland, RÚV reports. The data comes from a new report based on figures collected between 2012 and 2016.

According to the study, in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, around 35% of prisoners were reincarcerated within two years of leaving prison. In Iceland the figure was 20%. Figures from Norway were not available.

Páll Winkel, director of the Icelandic Prison Service, attributes Iceland’s relative success to the government’s targeted policy which reintroduces prisoners to society in stages. “Before people went into a closed prison where everyone begins serving their sentence and then were released on probation. Now we have a closed prison where everyone begins serving their sentence, then people go to an open prison, from an open prison to a halfway house and from a halfway house to electronic surveillance in their home with an ankle bracelet.” Páll asserts that the report proves this system has reduced reincarceration rates. “It shows that locking people in for a long time in a closed prison without supporting them or making them better equipped to cope with life when they come out again didn’t work. This shows the chances are higher [they will not e reincarcerated] the more support they receive and the more step-by-step they are released.”

The report also showed that the proportion of foreign prisoners in Iceland has decreased by 20%.

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