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NPR’s ‘Worldview’ program interviews O’Leary

Margaret_O'LearySt. Olaf College Professor of Norwegian and Department Chair Margaret Hayford O’Leary spoke with the host of National Public Radio’s “Worldview” program Thursday about the criminal justice system in Norway.

She explained that the country’s prison system is geared toward rehabilitation rather than punishment, with shorter sentences than the United States and a focus on providing inmates with practical living skills.

“The philosophy is that they will get out of prison sooner or later, and so they need to know how to function in a society that’s controlled by rules and take responsibility,” O’Leary tells “Worldview” host Jerome McDonnell.

O’Leary, the author of Culture and Customs of Norway, has toured two of the country’s prisons. She says prison life is designed to resemble life outside the facility, with the goal of preparing inmates for re-entry into society.

“I’m afraid I’m sold on the way Norway does things,” O’Leary says.