Sweden is closing its prisons. What about a prisonless world?

sweden prison-uddevalla

Swedish prison uddevalla.

Swedish Prisons are for rehabilitation, not for punishment. Sweden is now closing its prisons, due to lack of prisoners.

The Swedish prison population has dropped by nearly a sixth since it peaked at 5,722 in 2004. In 2012, there were 4,852 people in prison in Sweden, out of a population of 9.5 million. The US has a prison population of 2,239,751, equivalent to 716 people per 100,000. China ranks second with 1,640,000 people behind bars, or 121 people per 100,000, while Russia’s inmates are 681,600, amounting to 475 individuals per 100,000. Brazilian prisons hold 548,003 citizens, 274 people per 100,000; finally, India’s prison population amounts to 385,135, with a per capita rate of just 30 inmates per 100,000 citizens.

sweden jail1

Swedish prison Sollentuna.

sweden jail 4

Swedish prison cell.

Kumla prison in Sweden

Swedish prison cell.

Sweden doesn’t have the Death Penalty, neither it has any real punishment or real prison for criminals. But Sweden has less crimes than other countries. It is because Swedish society is an equal society, there is no big gap between rich and poor, obviously Sweden is a good welfare state and needless to say that there is more equality between men and women in Sweden than most countries in the world. Sweden has been experiencing less violent crimes than before. Theft and drugs offenses still exist though.

We have learned from Sweden that if we can create equality in society, the crime rates will go down. If we can create equality in the world, there will be no crime, and there will be no prison. I am dreaming of that crimeless prisonless beautiful world.


  1. smrnda says

    In the US, the usual idea is that with harsher and harsher penalties we’ll get less crime, but the evidence always seems to indicate otherwise. I think in the States, among lots of people, being punitive is seen as intrinsically good in and of itself; people may talk badly about crime, but what they want isn’t decreasing crime, they want more people in jails and (quite often) to shoot people they view as criminals, all while fixing none of the problems that actually lead to crime. Even though violent crime is declining in the US, more people are in jail thanks to harsher sentences for non-violent crime.

    There must be some kind of instinct to just enjoy punishment and brutality, which goes along with tolerating a high degree of inequality. It’s bad since it’s an outlook which ignores the main factor that causes crime. Even if crime can’t be 100% eliminated, a more equal society almost always translates into less crime.

    And unequal societies mean that *certain people* get to decide that *certain other people* who really aren’t doing anything really wrong are criminals. I don’t think most Americans really want some of our more draconian laws – plenty of ordinary people acknowledge the war on drugs has gone too far, but in an unequal society, not every opinion gets heard.

    • Dude says

      Sweden is supposed to have the highest rate of ‘rape’ in Europe. The writer to should her sources first. There are other criticism for Sweden such as their libertarian policies have led to many extrmemist and violent groups gaining popularity such as radical feminists, nazis and other fascist/supremacy groups.

      • Jaeger says

        But Sweden counts every rape unlike other countries. Take marital rape or kidnapping rape – if a scumbag raped his wife/kidnappee all year long the Swedes would count every rape (ie 300+) while other countries would just chalk up one.

      • mick says

        Sweden also counts any ‘report’ of rape as an actual rape in the statistics… its the ONLY nation to do this… If a girl goes to a police station claiming she ‘Thinks’ she ‘might’ have been raped by someone at the part…and lists all of the male attendees… theres an even chance ALL of these guys will be counted as one rape too!

        So any accusation of rape at all is counted as if there was a full conviction. This has the effect of ballooning the ‘rape’ figures. Rather considerably I might add.

        If later this same woman returns and admits she was wrong and that theres even a video she took of her agreeing to sex with her own husband that night…. the rape report still counts… its not withdrawn.

        In addition what is interesting about rape statistics in Sweden is that the accusations of rape against native swedes is actually quite low… its the accusations against immigrants mostly by other immigrants that’s rather high.

        So erm… on the topic of actually checking facts…. ahem, ahem…

      • RL says

        It is because Sweden counts every single case of rape. For example, if someone gets raped 5 times a week by the same person, that will be counted as 5 separate cases, but in most other countries they will count them all in one only because they are from the same criminal.

  2. UJJAL says

    Yes, the Scandinavian countries had ever led the world as the most humane corner of earth.
    In India and South America and many other countries, the prisoners are treated as animals so they behave like animals inside the prison and remain animals when they are released.

    Very negligible few are corrected after their stay in ‘correctional homes’, as jails now termed in India.

  3. says

    It’s a very important news. The whole world should learn a lesson from it. Especially I would like to draw the attention of the Muslims of the whole world to this news. This news proves that the idea and law of Islam towards crimes are incorrect and absurd. Islam believes that it needs rough and cruel acts to eliminate crime and criminals from the society and the world.
    Swedish Govt and Swedish people has shown us the path how to reduce crimes and how to behave with the criminals and how to rectify them and how to bring them in the main stream of the human society.
    How Sweden has been able to reduce crimes? You have explained -“It is because Swedish society is an equal society, there is no big gap between rich and poor, obviously Sweden is a good welfare state and needless to say that there is more equality between men and women in Sweden than most countries in the world. Sweden has been experiencing less violent crimes than before. Theft and drugs offenses still exist though.” I agree with you. And I also agree with your opinion that ” if we can create equality in society, the crime rates will go down. If we can create equality in the world, there will be no crime, and there will be no prison.” And I do believe that it is possible.

    • - says

      it doesnt.. out of the 700 rapes that happen in sweden every week only THREE people will go to jail. So there are a lot of rapists here in sweden who never gets any kind of punishment. and it is sick

  4. Gilgamecha42 says


    It’s called that for the amount of reported rapes. But it’s a misconception to call it the rape capital of Europe.


    On the face of it, it would seem Sweden is a much more dangerous place than these other countries.

    But that is a misconception, according to Klara Selin, a sociologist at the National Council for Crime Prevention in Stockholm. She says you cannot compare countries’ records, because police procedures and legal definitions vary widely.

    “In Sweden there has been this ambition explicitly to record every case of sexual violence separately, to make it visible in the statistics,” she says.

    “So, for instance, when a woman comes to the police and she says my husband or my fiance raped me almost every day during the last year, the police have to record each of these events, which might be more than 300 events. In many other countries it would just be one record – one victim, one type of crime, one record.”

    If other countries had the same or similar system, it would be much lower. Much, much lower.

    • benetaylor says

      Thank you Gilgamecha42. Maybe I have been watching too much TV, like The Millennium Trilogy & Wallander, which give you the impression that Sweden has a crime problem like the rest of us.

  5. says

    The idea in the US is NOT that the harsher the punishment the less the crime. It’s “The harsher the punishment, the better we feel doling it out.”

    We in the US would rather spend $5m to imprison someone than spend $5k to help them.
    We are a vengeful, cruel and bloodthirsty society.

    We do we have the death penalty? Not for a deterrent, not to save money, not because it works.
    We have it because the victims “need to feel closure” by knowing they killed the guy who killed their loved one.

    We think justice is a synonym for revenge.

  6. Jeanette says

    I recently went to Berlin, Germany and had an amazing time! I noticed that people POLICE THEMSELVES rather than the people living in a police state like cities in the USA do. The bottom line is that I feel that people are more civilized all over Europe. The police didn’t carry any guns in Berlin. Prostitution is legal and regulated. If you desire to have a beer on the train, you can. I didn”t see people getting all f-ed up like in the USA (where I live). Crime is lower. Now, who takes up the most space in men’s jails? By far, minorities (especially black men). Why do they committ such heinous crimes? I’ll let you figure that out. We NEED prisons in the USA. Men can obviously not control themselves! They rape, murder, assault, molest, and more. Look on the sex offender registry-all men. They CHOOSE NOT to control their behavior! Being a white woman, I experience harrassment from black males ALMOST EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE!! I’m telling my story, and don”t care if I sound politically correct or not. It’s my truth. And, benetaylor, Muslim countries are NOT peaceful. If they were, they’d treat women a hell of alot better!! They are not peaceful people. Read the koran if you dare. It says something about beheading the non believers (of allah)! Crazy extremists literally do this. What a barbaric thing to do! If the USA didn’t have prisons, this country would be in pure CHAOS. Men would be raping, looting, and pillaging.

    • OrcinusAdamantos says

      I love white women. I happen to think that that majority of them, where I live, Santa Monica CA, could get it real good from me. If, they, then I, chose to give it to them. You mention being frequently bothered by “them”, well look in the bright side, you are white, so you probably only have a good year or two left before you start to look like a mummy with latex lips. And think about things. For example, these “niggers” as you really wanted to say ( I’m a descendant of the slave trade, so I mean no harm. It after all is only a word in the English language) are always paying you complements, while under your breath you are probably cursing their existence, berating them, plain out being a negative bitch towards them. All for what? Someone who appreciates you despite the fact that you are a garbage can out anger and disgust.

      Long live the hunt for P.A.W.G’s

  7. trina says

    Wow you aren’t joking are you? Why are more minorities in jail? Poverty, inequality, the white supremacist society that POC are forced to live in? Sentences are longer and fines larger if you’re not white. You’re more likely to be ‘randomly’ stopped by police and you’re much, much more likely to be assaulted/murdered by police.
    And when you are killed by a crackpot neighbourhood watchman for the crime of walking while black the following trial makes it plain that as a young black man confronted and stalked by a white man the only correct response is ‘yes massa’

  8. Good says


    According to a 2009 European Union study, Sweden has one of the highest rates of reported rape in Europe.


    The crime rate in Sweden is high compared to other industrialized countries.


    More than a year after a bomb ripped through the home of a prosecutor, Sweden carries on its struggle to curb the spread of criminal gangs, AFP’s Nina Larson reports.

  9. benetaylor says

    But you only need prisons if you sentence people to imprisonment for committing crimes. Just don’t convict them & save money on prisons.

  10. Crunchy Renee says

    Their prisons are nicer than the apartments of our poor, and even much of our working class…. Harshness only creates more harshness, and this is by design. We love our prisons, we love punishing others, it’s a disgrace.
    Oh America, how backwards we are. Why do we prefer to spend on jail, instead of education. We rather lock kids and parents up for anything we can think of, than help them afford a safe life for their kids.

    In just about every situation, when we treat people like humans, with respect, and services where needed, we end up better off. One example is a school in Philly that use to be nothing but a prison pipeline. Instead of amping up security in response to increasing violence, they removed it all. No more cops, no more metal detectors, everything that looked like jail, all gone. They added more mentors, dropped punitive rules, and low and behold, violence dropped by 95%. Kids are showing up everyday, learning, and some even go to colege now.

    People don’t understand that yes, we have criminals, but the reason we have so many is inequality, racism, and poverty. People with options don’t need to join gangs, and adults that are educated and aren’t functionally illiterate have more opportunities. We may always have some twisted killers, but the better society is, the stronger and healthier the families, communities, schools, the fewer damaged people we will have to start with.

    Being poor, especially non white, is like fighting to carry a boulder, uphill, during a blizzard, while theres an avalanche. Every step of the way is filled with hazards, and any misstep can crush your entire future, or policies ensure this. It is so very exhausting to be poor, and I am privileged!
    We all are born into different, unequal, situations here, but we expect everyone to function as if they all had the benefit of an upper middle class, stable life. Its insane.

    Of course, in America, we want to wipe away an opportunity that remains. This will leave us with an even more enormous “prison class”. Maybe once more whites get stomped on, they will get a clue.

  11. aman says

    I have often seen many people of so called third world origin always have a tendency to sing praises of western culture, way of life and other such fairytales fed by essentially west-monitored mass media. While it is true that they have access to better opportunity or infrastructure, it is never for being superior or well equipped but for being able to monitor and manipulate world economy to their benefits. For the novice and less informed “Nations like Switzerland and Cayman Islands are REPUTED international tax havens”. Their flowery stories of per capita income and industrial growth are all based on hips of unaccounted money from countries worldwide. Several political leaders, businesspersons from Southeast Asia in general and India in particular are accused of laundering money and channelling a significant amount of their national wealth into Swiss Banks. Now as a nation of population less than even a Crore (Southeast Asian equivalent 10 million) and all the cash on earth, any tom dick harry can write a success story. What is the big deal?? At least Arabs are selling out there natural resource !!! Most western stories and sagas of economic success based on expert analysis have shamelessly given up during bubble bursts. Some international sources claim that more than 20 % of Swiss population consumes some form of narcotics. I would request all of you brothers and sisters just to try finding any negative data on Switzerland such as single mother issue, drug problems over internet and you will see most dependable sources such as Wikipedia are surprisingly mundane about them. However you type Sudan and “Genocide” follows or you type India and “rape” will follow. Sorry if I have hurt any progressive sentiments or FREE thoughts, But truth is always not popular.

  12. none says

    Like to add to the discussion. First of all I think some readers need to read why it looks like rape is really high in Sweden, Just like others have indicated just because 1 person has 300 incidences, places like the usa count that as only 1 while Sweden count that as 300 does not make it a high rate. Just means they have better reporting. 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate. Homicide rate is 4 times higher in USA than Sweden. Need to get current data not something back in 1995 to 2001. And really
    http://www.thelocal.se/20090312/18164 is just an example of yellow journalism not actually research and no comparisons to other countries. Also USA incarcerate WAY TO MANY PEOPLE, no other country does this. As a matter of fact USA had record low violent crimes during time when there were LESS police and prisons like in Texas were shutting down. Now we have more police and more prisons being built and guess what violent crime rate is rising. See the connection? We really are not much different from the rest of the world. We are human beings. It is working in Sweden and other countries that use rehabilitation it will work in the USA. I would rather not go bankrupt in the USA just because of fear mongers riding the backs of the justice system.

    • Niklas J says

      You dont know what you are talking about. Rape statistics are now rising to number 1 in the world, thanks to muslim immigrants. Sweden is fucked, help us! Not you America, but anyone else!

  13. Jerome says

    Regarding the USA, they use the say: “Build it and they will come!!” Guess what?! It worked!!

    “The Guardians of the World Vol.2” starring Trump & the Gangs, is helping the whole world to remove the mask and portraying the real USA that the world adors. No country in this world is sovereign when they are members of whatever Trade, Securiuty, Economic,etc .. Associations.

    WE are led to believe that the sole agenda of the USA is to make the world a better place (democratic) by enforcing their beliefs of a civilised society on to others but if we are stupid enough to believe that they spend millions to make these war countries a better place for the people there, then we are more stupid than they believe we are.

    We are led to believe that countries like North Korea, Russia and the Middle East countries are a danger to this world but the propaganda made by the USA with the help of the Western Societies is slowly showing us that instead of creating a world of peace, we are creating more wars and tension around the globe.

    US allies are now seeing the true face of their biggest allie. We people, have a need to belong to a group so that we feel not different from others. Our biggest fear is to be different! But being different is good and in our nature. We should embrace and use our difference for the better and not use it to seperate us PEOPLE.

    We PEOPLE of this world have been manipulated by people in power so that they can stay at the top and enjoy this power and control. We have to understand those people as well because wee are all brought up to be such a person because in our society power = success.

    Our mentality needs to change towards each other, its only then that we’ll be able to live in a world of peace and understanding. Instead of investing in weapons to secure our presumably “security”, let’s invest in changing our mentality of egoism and consumerism.


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