Why Swedish Prison Cells Are Different from Other Prisons Cells

Want to know why Swedish prison cells are different from other prison cells? Swedish prison cells are renowned for their unique structure and facilities compared to other countries.

An image of Swedish Prison Cells.

 The Scandinavian nation has a rehabilitative approach to the penal system, focusing on inmate welfare and preparing them for rejoining society. Swedish prison cells’ size, design, and amenities are among the world’s biggest and equipped with en suite toilets, TVs, and other amenities. 

Prisoners have more privacy in single cells, which lowers the chance of violence and other issues brought on by overcrowding.

This article examines the motivations behind the distinct architecture of Swedish prisons and what we might learn from their approach to criminal justice.

The Environmental Differences of Swedish and Other Prison Cells

A big difference between a Swedish prison and other prisons like the USA’s is the environment inside the facilities. For example, in most countries like the USA, inmates are put in solitary confinement and are kept for hours.

In some, they put over 4 prisoners inside a small room, often leading to fights. Guards care less about what is happening behind bars. 

But inside a Sweden prison, lawbreakers don’t even show tension. They are kept with enough safety that inmates’ fights are never seen there. They are also not put in small rooms with more than one criminal. One inmate never creates issues with another one. 

The director of the “American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project” Alvin Bronstein, shared these facts in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor. 

Sweden’s Law Believes in Putting Fewer People Behind the Bars 

Swedish law ensures that people agree to all of their rules. Swedish people don’t believe in imprisoning more people like the USA and other countries. They think inmates are harmed there, no matter how simple the rules are. 

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The Swedish law believes in a philosophy: “Only those who pose a clear danger to public safety are imprisoned.” According to the law of Sweden, people who drive while drunk are the chief criminals. 

How Much Do Swedish Prisons Punish The Inmates? 

When it’s about crimes and being put into a correctional facility, anybody would think they’ll be punished inhumanely.

However, if anybody has committed a crime and is in Sweden, they will be punished much less than other countries’ prisoners. It’s because of Swedish law, and people think things deeply. 

How Much Do Swedish Prisons Punish The Inmates.
Image by Jeremy Keith licensed under CC BY 2.0

They know that one day the offenders will return to society, and they can be more dangerous if not taken care of with love.

Some trauma can make people worse, but if a criminal is taken care of correctly, they will be positive and productive people who will take steps to take the country to the next level of prosperity. 

Hence, the correctional institutions of Sweden are mostly focused on rehabilitation. They are given mental therapy and consultation so that any negative thoughts in their minds vanish.

Prisoners in Sweden are not basically punished but are assisted in rehabilitation. They are treated humanely. This is why Sweden prison cells are different from other prison cells. 

Other Reasons Why Sweden Prisons are Different than Other Prisons in the World

These factors also make Sweden’s prisons different than other country’s prisons: 


Compared to many other countries, prison cells in Sweden are larger. They rank among the biggest in the world, in fact. A Swedish prison cell typically measures 10–12 square meters (107–129 square feet).

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For example, the normal prison cell in the United States is about 6-8 square meters (64-86 square feet) in size. That is substantially smaller. 


Swedish prison cells frequently come with uncommon conveniences in other facilities. For example, many Swedish prison cells come equipped with mini-fridges, TVs, and private bathrooms. This reflects Sweden’s preference for rehabilitation over punishment.


Prisoners in many nations are frequently housed in cramped quarters with one or more cellmates. But prisoners are often held in separate cells in Sweden. This offers them more privacy and lessens the possibility of violence and other issues brought on by traffic.


Compared to correctional cells in numerous other countries, Swedish cells are intended to be cozier and less institutional. They frequently have colorful furnishings, wall art, and big windows that let in lots of natural light.


We must mention it once more. The concentration on rehabilitation is a key difference between Swedish and Nordic prison cells and those in many other nations. 

The prison system in Sweden is built on the concept that inmates need to be treated with respect and given a chance to pick up new skills and get ready for life after release. 

Because of this, Swedish prisons provide a variety of educational and vocational programs to assist inmates in learning new skills and enhancing their chances of securing a job after release.

Final Words

The Swedish prison cells distinguish them from other prison cells for having larger, more pleasant, and better-equipped cells. Additionally, they provide more privacy and are made to feel less institutional and more rehabilitative.

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