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Some U.S. prison systems are looking to international models for inspiration.

In recent years, corrections leaders have increasingly begun to look to other nations for inspiration and ideas—such as Germany, Norway, and Sweden, which have dramatically different approaches to incarceration and prison conditions.Doran Larson, “Why Scandinavian Prisons Are Superior,” Atlantic, September 24, 2013; and Josh Jacobs, “How Long Can Connecticut’s Prison Reform Last,” Atlantic, July 15, 2017. Corrections leaders in states as diverse as Connecticut, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania have been implementing innovative reforms based on practices they observed in European systems.Dave Ross, “This Secretary of Corrections Takes his Job Quite Literally,” My Northwest, December 28, 2015; Jacobs, “Connecticut’s Prison Reform” (2017); Mark Pazniokas, “A Governor, a Commissioner and a New Take on Prison,” CT Mirror, January 12, 2016; and Dashka Slater, “North Dakota’s Norway Experiment: Can Humane Prisons Work in America? A Red State Aims to Find Out,” Mother Jones, July 2017.

For example, North Dakota now allows individuals in a minimum custody facility to have additional privacy (such as private bedrooms), as an incentive for good behavior, and freedoms like the ability to wear civilian clothes, which better prepare them for adjustment to life in the community after release.Slater, “North Dakota’s Norway Experiment” (2017). Connecticut was inspired by a German young adult prison to create the innovative T.R.U.E. program specifically for young adults. For more details on T.R.U.E, visit the State of Youth Justice page.Jacobs, “Connecticut’s Prison Reform” (2017).