Mikko Aaltonen, a doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Fulbright scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Population Studies Center, will be joined by other experts in a seminar Friday, Jan. 27, at Fresno State examining crime and punishment in California and Finland.

The seminar, which is free and open to the community, is sponsored by Fresno State’s College of Health and Human Services, Department of Social Work Education.

Discussants will consider why incarceration rates that were about the same in Finland and California a half-century ago have changed, fueling California’s 500 percent increase in prison population between 1982 and 2000, while Finland’s prison population was halved.

The goal will be to answer the question: How do the distinct cultures of correction in Finland and California contemporary prisons serve the goals of punishing lawbreakers, preventing crime and allowing law-breakers to make amends and return to society.

Sessions will examine the different cultures of correction, how children and families are affected by incarceration and recent budget-driven changes in prison realignment. A panel discussion will follow the presentations (at 12:45 p.m.).

Besides Aaltonen, seminar speakers are:

  • Dr. Kris Clarke, an assistant professor at Fresno State.
  • Dr. Julie Lifshay, health and special projects manager of Centerforce, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of people in prison and their families.
  • Carol F. Burton, the executive director of Centerforce.
  • Debbie Reyes of the California Prison Moratorium Project, which advocates for prison reform.

The seminar will be presented 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Alice Peters Auditorium of the University Business Center (east side of the Peters Business Building).

For more information, contact Clarke at 559.278.2985 or kclarke@csufresno.edu.