While the rest of the world…. well, while the West…. er… while the United States has come to it’s senses and has stopped molly-coddling criminals and has given up the utopian myth of rehabilitation, those crazy Finns are practically letting their criminals off scot free.
If I were President Bush, I would add them to the “axis of evil”. There is no greater threat to the American way of life than cool calm reason and enlightened self-interest. Damn them all! Damn them to hell!
You see, those crazy Finns have the lowest rate of incarceration in Europe. For every 100,000 people, they keep about 52 in jail! Fifty-two! By golly, the Americans know how to get rid of crime! They keep about 750 people in jail for the same 100,000 citizens. And it ought to be more, by golly, because we still have lots of crime out there in the streets.
And do you know what their prisons are like? Do they make up for the light sentences and the easy parole by exacting harsher punishments in shorter periods of time? Force labour? Floggings? Solitary confinement? Not a chance! Their prisons are like dormitories, their guards are unarmed, and the the prisoners are sometimes referred to as “clients”.
Are they mad?
The Finns were not always so crazy. Back in the 1950’s, they were pretty well like everyone else in “civilized” Europe. But the crime rate was high and there was lots of prison violence and escapes and stuff. They didn’t like it. Do you know what the fools did? More of the same, like the Americans? No, no, no. They consulted the “experts”. Right. The eggheads. The nerds. Those pinko eastern liberal establishment types. And you know what they recommended? They recommended that the prison system be structured to rehabilitate rather than punish! God help us, Satan has taken over the government!
Naturally, the general population was outraged and demanded a return to capital punishment.
Well, no, they didn’t.
They said, okay, let’s try it. Fortunately the results proved the folly of their ways. The crime rate went down and the prison population went down and there was less violence in prison and fewer escapes. Wait a minute…
Even the Finns admit that their approach might not work in the U.S. For one thing, you have the victims of crimes who demand brutal retribution for offenses committed against them. Apparently those push-over Finns get compensated for crimes by the government, and kind of pathetically chill out, and seem to take the view that the long range health of their society is more important than any personal satisfaction to be gained by seeking revenge. Oh the godlessness of it all!
Let us hope that the Soviet Union (over 600 individuals imprisoned for every 100,000 population) invades them soon to knock a little sense into their crazy little heads. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be likely that a vicious crime wave will come along and sweep the public up into a new frenzy of paranoia and hysteria. You see, it seems that the crime rate is way down. Rehabilitation seems to actually work.
Not as much fun as sending someone to prison for fifty years for stealing a box of cookies, is it?
We know one thing. The Finns must be godless, because it is the Christian Right that leads the charge for stiffer sentencing in the U.S. Something about someone’s traditional family values.
Or just hatred. I don’t know.