. I remember talking to Martin Narey during Blair's heyday about the government's approach to teenagers. Narey, head of the expanded prison service at the time, told me an intriguing statistic: Finland had at that point three children in prison. The UK had 2,900.If Narey had said "Portugal only locks up 3 children" it wouldn't automatically be assumed to be an argument for a more liberal sentencing policy but with Finland it is. Finland is the most violent country in Western* Europe, there is no reason to look at their crime policies and assume that we should be copying them. Finland is great at many things- it probably has the best education system in Europe- but their record on crime is not one to be emulated.
* I know it isn't actually very far west but I mean Europe that wasn't behind the Iron Curtain.