I’ve spent this week in Edinburgh, with one day in Glasgow, with my forensic psychology class. Thus far, we’ve been studying forensic psychology with either a Nordic or United States perspective–to see how they do things in the UK was fascinating, and quite a change of pace. Our trip consisted of field studies to different organizations, as well as some cultural activities.
One field study that was particularly interesting was to an organization for a “positive prison.” It took a unique approach to changing the prison system–using input from former inmates. We spoke to one of the founders, a man who had previously been to prison. He told us the story of how his experience in prison changed his life for the better, and was inspired to help others have as good of an experience. Reflecting
on this now, it shows how, at least from my perspective, European countries like Scotland and Sweden are so ahead of the United States in terms of rehabilitation of current and former prisoners. In the US, they are stripped of their identity and rights. No system is perfect, but it seems as though the programs and organizations that exist in Europe are trying to better the lives of those in prison. It is interesting to learn, and important to bring this information back to the US, to compare and really see what can be done to change the criminal justice system.