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Larson Reviews Book on Scandinavian Prisons


Doran Larson
Doran Larson

Doran Larson, the Walcott-Bartlett Chair of Ethics and Christian Evidences and Professor of Literature and Creative Writing, recently published a review of Scandinavian Penal History, Culture And Prison Practice: Embraced By The Welfare State. Published in 2017 by Palgrave Macmillan, the book was edited by Peter Scharff Smith and Thomas Ugelvik of the University of Oslo. Larson’s review appears on the Rutgers University Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books webpage.

The book presents a collection of essays, most of which focus on various practices in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Larson said, “The conclusions to be drawn from this collection are clear: Scandinavian penal practice, while still admirably constructive, is inevitably troubled by the misfit twin imperatives to provide security and discipline, and forward-looking healing and rehabilitation.”

In conclusion, Larson said he recommends the book “for researchers and practitioners looking north for models of penal practice and reform.”

Larson, the founder and project director of the American Prison Writing Archive, has written extensively on the American prison system. In addition to publishing essays on prison writing and prison issues, he edited Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America in 2014. Most recently, Witness in the Era of Mass Incarceration: Discovering the Ethical Prison, which offers comparative readings of the work of incarcerated men and women, was published in 2017.

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