Overcrowding in prisons is a huge problem in the United States and one that we have yet to deal with successfully. A key factor is recidivism, which is defined as offenders returning to prison or jail post-release. The United States has one of the highest recidivism rates in the world, especially when compared to Scandinavian countries which have the lowest. The socioeconomic historical development and cultural characteristics of both the United States and Scandinavian countries affect the culture of their prison systems and in turn, affects the prison populations and recidivism rates. Comparing the history, cultural attitudes, and prisons of the United States to Scandinavia shows a gap in the literature of not connecting what really affects the prison systems and the recidivism rates. Is it the history, the culture, the prisons themselves, or a combination?

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2019


Charles B. Fields

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Justice Studies

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Justice Studies