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COMPEN: the Comparative Penology Group Conference, University of Agder, Kristiansand

  • University of Agder Kristiansand Norway (map)

COMPEN Conference - University of Agder

On June 13th-14th, COMPEN: the Comparative Penology Group are hosting a conference at the University of Agder, Norway with the general theme ‘Punishment and imprisonment in the Nordic countries’. Researchers with expertise on prisons and punishment in the Nordic countries will present their analysis while our team will be discussing the ongoing findings from our comparative study of penal policymaking and prisoner experiences in England & Wales and Norway (

The starting point for the conference is that during the ten years that have passed since the ‘Nordic Exceptionalism’ thesis was first presented by John Pratt (2008ab), several important changes have occurred in Nordic penal policy and practice. This includes a significant growth in empirical prison research in this region, as well as penal policy developments that may seem to be in tension with the ‘Nordic Exceptionalism’ thesis. Following these developments, the conference asks: What do ten years of Nordic Exceptionalism research tell us about Nordic penal policy and practice? And in what ways do recent studies, and penal policy developments, support, challenge, and supplement the idea that Nordic prison policies and practices are unusually humane and inclusive?