Sweden has one of those "good" problems: the country was recently forced to close four prisons and a remand center due to a lack of prisoners.
Don't get it twisted—a lack of prisons doesn't equate to a shortage of crime. Sweden's crime rate has actually climbed, but there's more emphasis on rehabilitating prisoners than simply throwing them in a box and turning them into statistics. It's a stark contast to the U.S. prison system, where federal facilities are a reported 40 percent above capacity. Meanwhile, Sweden's prison population dropped by 6 percent between 2011 and 2012.
Further illustrating the difference between U.S. and European prisons is the length of the average sentence. In Europe, most of them are under a year; in the U.S., the average is three years. During those shorter sentences, prisoners are prepared to return to society as modified, productive human beings. That's what prison is supposed to be about.