Hätä Keinon Keksii: Consulting the Nordic Model of “Penal Exceptionalism” for a Praxis-Oriented Approach to Higher Education in Prison


  • Gregory Bruno


Denmark, Sweden, and Norway hold among the world’s lowest rates of incarceration and recidivism. This phenomenon, referred to as the Nordic model of “Penal Exceptionalism” (Pratt, 2008), has proven replicable as Finland – whose prison population once soared – reduced its rates of incarceration after adopting many of the policies and initiatives pioneered by its neighbors (Lappi-Seppälä, 2000). As the United States reinstates Pell Grants for incarcerated learners and New York State passes its own set of progressive reform laws (the Less is More Act of 2021 and revisions to state Discovery Laws and Bail Reform), scholars, activists, and educators might look toward the Nordic countries for guidance on how to serve this evolving student demographic.