'It's like a Sentence before the Sentence' - Exploring the Pains and Possibilities of Waiting for Imprisonment

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article explores the implications of the 'imprisonment queue' in Norway. Based on interview data (N = 200), we show that while interviewees waiting to serve their sentences enjoy certain benefits such as being able to prepare for or negotiate the terms of their imprisonment, they also suffer from uncertainty and powerlessness. The suspension of their lives while they wait hinders them in pursuing their ground projects, things that really matter to them. This peculiar phenomenon has not received attention from prison scholars generally, as well as scholars writing on Nordic Exceptionalism specifically. This article addresses that gap and poses questions about the relative mildness of the short Norwegian sentences, and more broadly, about what constitutes punishment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)363-381
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2020

    Research areas

  • ground projects, punishment, uncertainty, waiting

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and www.ku.dk

No data available

ID: 256221387