Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention Volume: 14 Issue: S1 Dated: 2013 Pages: 24-45
This article argues that it is fertile to see the changes in Swedish prison policy during the last decades as a paradigm shift.
This article has been written from the position that one fails to understand the character of the changes in prison policy in the last decades if one concentrates too much on the new emphasis on control and security. By making use of Thomas Kuhn's paradigm model, the article argues that it is fertile to see the changes in Swedish prison policy during the last decades as a paradigm shift. Although the new emphasis on control and security is important, it is only one feature in a larger transformation which concerns changing perceptions of the criminal subject, new theoretical understandings, new treatment methods, as well as a new role for the prison in penal policy in general. The article conceptualizes the policy that has developed inside the Swedish Prison and Probation Service during the last decades as the developing of a new paradigm in contrast to the old prison policy paradigm of the welfare state. The article especially discusses the significance of the development of so-called evidence-based knowledge as well as the creation of a Scientific Council inside the Swedish Prison and Probation Service which have led to a re-pathologization of the criminal subject. Other features that make up the new paradigm are the numerous programs built on cognitive therapy and the emphasis on individual risk assessments. On a general level, the new paradigm has developed during, and is congruent with, the dominance of a neo-liberal regime. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.