Justice minister calls for longer prison terms

Justice Minister Beatrice Ask has called for Sweden to apply longer prison sentences for violent crimes such as assault, threatening behaviour and robbery.

On Thursday the government is to launch a new investigation into criminal justice legislation in a bid to ensure that the courts use the full range of sentences at their disposal, Sveriges Radio reports.

“People are often upset by the punishments for assault, serious assault and crimes of this nature. We basically want more stringency to be applied,” Ask told Sveriges Radio.

The minister wishes to see a change to the current situation whereby the toughest punishments are only applied in very specific cases.

The government is to investigate whether is may be possible to hand out longer sentences for criminals previously convicted of similar offences, or who have committed a range of crimes at the same time.

“These things should have a effect on the consequences, and to some extent they already do. But maybe not enough.

“We think the investigator should have a serious think about this issue,” said Ask.

Despite current overcrowding in Swedish jails, the justice minister is not concerned by the prospect of a need for more prison spaces if the courts begin applying lengthier sentences.

“I would like to believe that these are manageable problems, but we will have to wait and see what conclusions are reached by the investigation,” said Ask.

The government will also look at whether more people originating from countries other than Sweden should face deportation if found guilty of serious crimes.

But the government does not only want to lengthen prison terms. The investigation will also look at expanding the extent to which the courts take into account extenuating circumstances, which could lead to some prison sentences being reduced.


Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime