Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Those Peaceful Nordics

Over at Biased BBC there is a post describing a discussion about crime and punishment on the Today programme:
It's all part of the narrative and so it is no big surprise to hear an item on Today earlier this morning suggesting that we should follow the example of Finland and cease "incarcerating" young people (anyone under 21) in our prisons.
Regardless of the BBC's bias, this discussion makes two assumptions that really should be debunked:
  • That the Nordics are a particularly good model to follow when it comes to cutting crime. Finland has one of the highest murder rates in Western Europe. Why emulate them?
  • That youth crime is some minor aspect of crime. In fact offending rates peak from the mid teens to the early 20s depending on the offence, so by abolishing punishment for "youth" crime you end up abolishing punishment for any crime.

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