Emory International Law Review


Emily Labutta


The United States has some of the highest crime and recidivism rates in the world, while Norway has some of the lowest. This Comment explores the factors behind these rates, including each country's penal goals, structures, and laws. Major differentiating factors between the two systems include the sentencing structure of the U.S. and the Norwegian principle of normality. Under the principle of normality, Norway seeks to reintegrate its offenders into society. Norway combats the negative side effects of prison that isolate the prisoner from society, reinforce bad habits, and make reintegration upon release nearly impossible. This Comment proposes that the U.S. could achieve similar results by integrating its current focus on retribution with Norwegian-style rehabilitation. If the U.S. lowered its sentences and incorporated the principle of normality into prisoner treatment, the U.S. and its prisoners would benefit from lower crime and recidivism rates.