A Criminal Is Cleaner Than You Think. And, No, They Didn’t Drop The Soap.

Number 16 Bus Shelter
4 min readSep 25, 2021


Orange is the new black and the new black is pure as white.

Recidivism is a predictive factor for the probability of a released criminal becoming a repeat offender.

When rates of recidivism are increased, a criminal may be more likely to repeat the same crime and/or engage in criminal activity again.

The polarity of prison systems across the globe play a pivotal role in determining how recidivism can be affected.

In places like Norway, a prison operates in the fashion of a rehabilitation centre. Cells appear as dorm rooms. Inmates are not dehumanised. Overall, the atmosphere is less oppressive and more optimistic.

Norway has consistently ranked number one on a number of lists entailing the best, most comfortable prisons in the world.

- Bolorzul Dorjsuren, The Borgen Project

In stark contrast, the American prison system is designed to punish and treat criminals as irredeemable. Inmates are dehumanised and, once released, the prospects of reintegrating into society are virtually obsolete.

America’s recidivism crisis is far more alarming than any other democratic country in a similar economic bracket. […] The country’s high recidivism rate alone demonstrates that our prisons are as ineffective as they are inefficient. A sobering reality which calls for a reimagined criminal justice system.

-Liz Benecchi, Harvard Political Review

Norwegian ‘prisons’ reduce recidivism by enabling inmates to reintegrate. As all prisons should operate, the main goal should be to steer criminals away from crime and ensure betterment. Not only for the individual, but the collective body of society.

A summary of the conceptual egregore that keeps any civilisation civil and high-functioning.

Instead, the American system is determined to condemn with summary execution. Those who serve and complete their sentence may well find permanent refuge in jail as there is hardly any warm welcome expressed upon return.

Hence, the rise of unemployment and vagrancy is impressed upon this insensible, callous reflection of what should be the criminal’s support.

Recidivism clogs the criminal justice system. Without employment opportunities and bare necessities such as housing, food, or clothing, successful reentry into society seems nearly impossible for former prisoners.

Criminal’ is not a dirty word.

It should not inspire consternation through the thoughts and expressions of those who possess only a whit more luck or cleverness to conceal their accruing interest of petty crimes.

The Norwegian system, much like other nations conducting proper etiquette of socialism, treats the criminal as a wayward child. Still able to receive discipline as a means of correction, but not necessarily mandating force, aggression or demeaning tactics.

The American system is problematic. The living conditions are a presage to neglect and abandonment. The cells are claustrophobic with old, rancid, wrinkling paint. The inmates are resigned to uniform fashion, undeviating in the absence of personality.

A lurid orange to highlight the criminal’s sordid nature as a spectacle for derision. Denied the rights of humanity. Subjected to unreasonable acts of humiliation.

Whether rightfully or wrongfully convicted, the matter of jurisprudence should be indiscriminate.

Criminality is treated as incurable through the lens of American philosophy. Is corporal or capital punishment as prevalent through Norwegian praxis?

The answer is subject to further review as Norwegian jurisprudence does not eliminate penalty entirely.

Nevertheless, the American legal system is a squalid reflection of its nation’s farraginous personality.

Abrasive, indifferent, selfish, acquisitive, primitive.

American prison life is an overcrowded shelter for the lost and abandoned. It is an erroneous, if not ignominious, display of justice in which redemption is received with contempt and premature conclusion.

It operates almost exclusively on the logical fallacy of keeping the general public “safe” by segregating those most likely to engage in illicit activity.

Norwegians do not see prisons as permanent housing for those who have demonstrated immoral behaviour.

A Norwegian prison is comparable to a convalescent home.

By providing suitable living accommodations and an inviting atmosphere, Norwegian prisons are superior to American prisons.

It should stand to reason that a system with a rich history of abuse and neglect towards troubled citizens would yield the outcome of increased recidivism.

It should also stand to reason that a system with a modest practice of inclusivity, treating inmates no different from the general, seemingly innocent, populace, would yield lower rates of said inmates feeling compelled or reduced to the fraying puppet strings of predatory suits.



Number 16 Bus Shelter