Focused on Reform: Pennsylvania Department Of Corrections Unveils ‘Little Scandinavia’ At SC Chester


Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) Acting Secretary George Little was joined by partners from the Norwegian Correctional Service (Kriminalomsorgen), the Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården), Drexel University, and the University of Oslo to officially dedicate the Little Scandinavia Unit at SCI Chester.


The Scandinavian model of incarceration focuses on rehabilitation and reintegration. Little Scandinavia will incorporate ideas and concepts from Scandinavian prisons to determine their impact on staff and inmate wellness, prison culture, and recidivism.


The project began in 2017, when Drexel University facilitated a visit to SCI Chester with Norwegian prison officials. A group of DOC personnel, including the superintendent, unit manager and corrections officers, later traveled to Norway, Sweden and Denmark in 2019. As part of that trip, officers gained firsthand experience working in a Norwegian prison setting for several weeks. The team set out to design their own unit based on what they experienced, and renovations to the unit that became Little Scandinavia started soon after. In 2022, after the project had been put on pause for nearly two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the full team returned to Sweden before finalizing the policies and structural layout of the unit.


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