Sweden <--> Ohio: Student

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Juvy: Swedish-style

I visited a prison that manages, almost, to not quite look like a prison.

It's for kids. Boys, specifically between the ages of 13 and 21, who have a cluster of problems (criminal, drug, social, emotionally, and usually educational) and have been removed from their homes by the state.

It's juvy - the alternative is regular adult prison and there are only four of these high-security facilities in the entire country of Sweden.

They were currently housing 25 boys and generally see about 52 boys a year. The maximum stay is 6mo, and starts with 2mo in a lockdown building, graduating to more freedoms as they act accordingly. Prisoners were referred to exclusively as "boys" rather than inmates, clients, prisoners, or students.

I met a few of the boys - they were curious, talkative, sarcastic, clear about their situation and options in life. Most spoke excellent English in addition to Swedish. One guy was obsessed with gangsters and sounded like he wanted to run off to the states "You have gangsters there!".

Stats: After 5 years, 30% of the students have returned to jail, 30% are dead, and 30% are employed. They employ 60 people to serve 24 students.

Job placement, family counseling, free family housing while counseling is being conducted, 150SEK/week allowance, and the inability to force boys to enter treatment are only some of the services offered. Maximum class size is 4 students. The auto class I watched had 2 students and the woodworking class only had 1. 70% of boys at that facility are immigrants (not sure if this is first generation or second generation or both).

The bottom line? They get $500 PER DAY per student from the municipality for rehabbing these guys.

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Blogger Laila said...

randomly stumbled upon your old blog and found this post. i've talked about this visit we did more than anything else about our class. i enjoyed reading your recap!

hope things are well -- and maybe you'll see this comment on some random day :)

7:03 PM


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