Monday, September 21, 2020
Monday, September 21, 2020

PA: Dept. of Corrections Hosts Corrections Delegation from Norway
P

Your Content is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Corrections recently hosted a delegation of prison officials from Norway to provide an opportunity to tour Pennsylvania prisons and exchange ideas on prison reform.

During the four-day tour the group visited four state correctional institutions, representing different security levels and focused programming: Graterford (maximum security), Camp Hill (diagnostic center), Chester (drug treatment) and Muncy (female facility). The group also toured SCI Phoenix, the state-of-the-art facility that will replace Graterford.

- Advertisement -

The highlight of the week was a community event at SCI Chester where Warden Are Høidal of Halden Prison in Norway, and Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel shared their ideas on modern corrections and discussed the practical and philosophical goals of prisons before an audience of regional corrections staff and educators from Drexel University, which sponsored the trip.

“I was transformed by my trip to see European prisons,” said Wetzel, who has toured prisons in Germany and the Netherlands. “They provided a vision of what could be in America.”

The American criminal justice system has traditionally focused on public safety, deterrence and punishment, while Norway and other European prison systems concentrate on restoration and rehabilitation.

- Advertisement -

The philosophy within U.S. prisons is changing, said Wetzel, who has put Pennsylvania at the forefront of this new approach to more humane, treatment-oriented and reentry-focused correctional facilities.

Wetzel said the DOC has adopted elements of the European model, such as creating transitional housing units to help inmates nearing release prepare to reenter the community. The agency also has expanded training for staff to address the high rates of mental illness among inmates and reduce violence through mental health first aid and crisis intervention.

Høidal said he was most impressed with the range of programming available to Pennsylvania inmates that addresses root causes of crime, such as drug and alcohol treatment, and that provide therapeutic support and jobs skills development, such as dog training.

“I think that this is a reciprocal relationship,” said Jordan Hyatt, a professor of criminology and justice studies at Drexel University who coordinated the tour. “While it may not be possible to copy the Norwegian approach, we can learn from their humane approach to corrections.

At the same time, our approach to evidence-based policy and an acceptance of the need to evaluate the impact and costs of programs are a model for corrections not prevalent there.”

Protect Independent Journalism

Your Content is a nonprofit newsroom that produces nonpartisan, evidence-based journalism to expose injustice, corruption and wrongdoing.

Spearheading the news revolution for Americans across the nation, Your Content has brought a voice to those the media failed to acknowledge.

This story you’ve just finished was funded by our readers and we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Your Content so that we can publish more reports like this one that holds people in power to account and produces real change.

Your donation will help us ensure that we can continue this critical work. We are busier than ever covering stories you won’t see anywhere else.

Philly Man Who Held Three Minors Age 13 and Older Captive in TRAP HOUSES Gets 45 Years

The sex-trafficked minors were said to be held captive in 'trap houses' throughout the city of Philadelphia for years.

St. Petersburg Police Yet to Allocate Single Cop to Help Search for Missing Florida Mom and Daughter

Family members from both sides exclusively told Your Content police have yet to help them trace the duo’s steps.

Guardian Angels Join Search for Missing Florida Mom and Daughter, Local PD Assign Single Officer

Guardian Angels have joined the search for missing Florida mom Angela Jolley and her daughter Alexis as St. Petersburg Chief allocates lone cop.

Arrest Imminent: Cops Believe They’ll Solve Florida Lake Massacre In Less Than 7 Days

Authorities are zoning in on key locations and claim they are less than 7 days away from cracking the case in Lake Streety, Florida.

$30,000 Reward Offered in Florida Fishermen Massacre Investigation: Sheriff

AUTHORITIES are offering a $30,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who...

FBI Join Search in Florida for Potential ‘Serial Killer’ Behind ‘Massacre’ of 3 Fishermen Found Dead

Federal agents are scouring Florida for a possible 'serial killer' after 3 fishermen were found murdered on a secluded road nearby a lake.

NYC Millionaire Butchered by Assassin Assistant Who Resembled Character from ‘Split’

The assistant-turned-assassin was caught on surveillance video buying an electric saw and cleaning supplies just hours beforehand.

Girl, 20, Sexually Assaulted and Killed by ‘Friend’ as They Walked Home from a Concert

A 'trusted' friend-turned-serial-rapist stands accused of raping and murdering barmaid Keeley Bunker as they walked home from a rap concert forced another...

Stay Informed & Get Your Content, Daily.

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

Your Content is a 501(c)(3) non-profit national American media organization of artists and journalists headquartered in Pennsylvania.