Sweden to consider tougher sentences for violent crime

Sweden to consider tougher sentences for violent crime
Sweden needs to have tougher punishments for violent crime and recidivism, and make changes to the range of sanctions for serious cases of abuse and blackmail, according to a new report from a government commission.

The investigative commission on sentencing levels, led by prosecutor Anders Perklev, presented its finding to justice minister Beatrice Ask on Wednesday.

Ask is satisfied with the findings and sees the commission’s recommendations as a way for the government to fulfill one of its campaign promises.

“I think the suggestions are very much in line with the Alliance government’s ambitions and the directives we gave to the investigator,” said Ask.

She believes that implementing the commission’s proposals is important for maintaining public confidence in the justice system.

“It’s important that the sanctions handed down by the courts are proportional the severity of the crime and there the investigator states that we undervalue to some extent violent crime and the serious effects it has for people and society,” said Ask.

The report also proposes that during trials, prosecutors should always submit a formal proposal regarding an appropriate punishment for a crime.

“According to the commission, there are several reasons to judge violent crimes more harshly than they are at present. One such reason is that society’s acceptance of violence had been decreasing steadily,” said the commission in a statement.

As a part of its work, the commission compared sentencing in Sweden with the guidelines in place in the other Nordic countries, as well as Germany, France, and the UK.

“Sweden, if you look in aggregate and also look at the guidelines for conditional release, has a sentencing level which isn’t lower than other countries,” said Perklev.

One of the commission’s experts, Uppsala University law professor Petter Asp, writes in a special appendix that he agrees with most of the body’s findings. However, he regrets that the commission’s directive didn’t provide scope for it to explore other solutions.

He writes that he would have rather seen a wider overhaul “which isn’t only based on increasing repressive measures”.