well, I'm not racist personally. I don't think statistics are racist either, although they can sometimes be biased.
But those stats underscore a deep difference between Norway and the US.
In Norway 86% of people are ethnic Norwegians. Only about 5% of the country attends church regularly, but 80% of the country has membership to the church of Norway. That situation doesn't reflect what's going on in the states, especially in highly ghettoized communities that minorities tend to settle in.
 Even so you could still keep two prisons, one more open and one more for those who have proven to be a persistent danger to society and really need to be kept away for safety reasons (but not completely isolated!) for a legally limited amount of time.
we do. Thats why there are different security prisons. Less security, more open.
And you didn't address anything else I've said. Your points are all wonderful but even within the united states there are huge variances in recidivism. Most of it is societal. You aren't going to override something that they've been learning all their lives with a wonderful prison atmosphere. They aren't your gang, and they know it.
Norway is an entirely different country with a far more homogeneous population and completely different social dynamics. At the prison you mention re-offend rates were 16%. At a normal Norwegian prison (not the cushy kind) re-offend rates were only 20% - 4% more.
Recidivism varies per state in the US. Arizona is pretty close to norway with 24.6%. Nevada was at 29.2. California was at 70% and connecticut was at 56%.
There are social issues involved. wikipedia says that in NYC, police arrest 200k black males every year, out of a total population of 1200k. 1/6th of that particular group gets arrested EVERY YEAR.
You can't solve that problem by making jail more inviting, but you can't necessarily solve it by making jail worse. Thats why its a difficult dilemma - it isn't easy to solve.
genuine evil is hard to recognize, and the state of the media and propaganda today is totally different so that there will always be a counterpoint. In WW1 & 2 many people got their news from the radio and going to theaters. Nowadays most people have internet and can go to al-jazeera or whatever, assuming SOPA doesn't pass.
Your genuine evil won't materialize till the economy is far past saving.
its impossible for a school to teach self work ethic. only parents can do that, and they have to start earlier than high school.
the weakening 'no one left behind' shit in high school certainly doesn't help.
go look at the people actually graduating for ed degrees. I hate to say this (my mom was a teacher, and a good one), but the great majority of them graduate from ed because they wouldn't hack it in most other faculties. ed standards have falled a lot.
not to say that teaching is a highly paid cakewalk - it isn't, and its largely unrewarding, but the calibre of graduates are not great.
the question is how employable are you right now? You need to be working EVERY SUMMER in either the field you're studying, or a closely related one. Then, when you go to get hired and are competing against the hundreds of people who graduated in your class, YOU'LL have work experience and they won't. The 4 months between semesters you do stuff on a job, even tedious, boring stuff, is very very important.
go out and get a job.
the 'weak student elimination' is only another set of test criteria, and like any system there will be people who figure out how to study to pass it, even if they themselves have no engineering judgement.
you lucked out. architecture is probably one of the hardest hit industries due to economic troubles. very few people can afford it. There are literally hundreds of thousands of unemployed from the architecture-related umbrella that compete heavily for every job, and wages for jobs that are around are down across the board.