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The ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of prisons: Carceral geography and home visits for prisoners in Finland

Keywords: Carceral geography , prison , furlough , ‘total institution’ , Finland

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This paper argues that the burgeoning sub-discipline of carceral geography needs to pay particular attention to context when theorising carceral space, and that the specific context of Finland offers a new and valuable perspective. Much of the work within this new area of human geography originates in or pertains to the highly incarcerative, or ‘hypercarcerative’ contexts of the US, the UK and the Russian Federation, raising questions over the transferability of theorisations of the carceral to other less carcerative, or actively ‘de-carcerative’ settings. By focussing specifically on one such setting, the low imprisonment context of Finland, this paper discusses Goffman’s ‘total institution’ thesis with reference to the system of ‘furloughs’ or home visits for prisoners. In this paper we explore the extent to which this practice destabilises the inside/outside binary of the ‘total institution’, through the notion of heterotopia.


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