The New York Times is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/02/international/europe/02FINL.html">running a story</a> on the success of the Finnish prison system in reducing the prison population (which is now the lowest in the EU per capita) through a novel approach: leniency. Far from being 'tough on crime', the Finns' attitude seems to be one long proposed by more liberal elements, and is in keeping with the Scandinavian propensity toward socialist principles. In contrast to the stance by various parties in the US to strip prisoners of even more things deemed 'luxuries' (education, libraries, TV, etc.) the relaxed atmosphere in Finnish prison actually seems to work, even with drug prohibition. Could something like this possibly work in the US, or is it more the logical extension if the more, for lack of a better word, humane Scandinavian culture? A socialist model in parallel with the politics of the country the issue is about?