Document Type




Publication Date

Spring 2010


Jackson State University

Source Publication

The Jackson State University Researcher

Source ISSN



The following paper provides insights into Finland’s criminal justice system and discusses the policies that emphasize using prison for rehabilitation, not merely for punishment. These methods of prevention and rehabilitation, in conjunction with correctional and educational staff within and outside the prison walls, have contributed to consistently low recidivism rates in Finland. This study discusses many ideological similarities between public opinions towards criminals and crime in Finland and the United States. Like Americans, Finns are intolerant of crime and violence, yet open to the idea of alternative forms of punishment, especially for non-violent and juvenile offenders. People in both countries tend to believe criminals are not born into a criminal life and that societal factors play a role in creating criminal behavior. This study sheds light on both the public support for ex-offenders’ rehabilitation in Finland and the extent to which Americans support alternative forms of punishment. It also provides a narrative of the disconnect between public opinion and what public officials think public opinion is.


Published version. The Jackson State University Researcher, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Spring 2010): 1-21. Permalink. © 2010 Jackson State University. Used with permission.