Criminal justice agencies concerned over budget woes

Sweden’s criminal justice system lies on the brink of a major budget crisis, with deficits of more than 12 billion kronor ($1.5 billion) expected by 2012.

In January, the TT news agency reported that the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) was facing a budget deficit of 5 billion kronor in 2012 if it didn’t receive additional funding.

A review of the financial situation for Sweden’s four large criminal justice agencies by the Fokus news magazine shows, however, that Sweden’s police force is not alone in its predicament.

The Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården) is also looking at a sizeable deficit of 5.3 billion kronor in 2012.

“Clearly it’s serious. Even if we get funding to cover these deficits, we still have 1,000 too few spaces,” said prison service budget head Håkan Andersson to Fokus.

The Prosecution Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten) is expecting a budget shortfall of 900 million kronor, while National Courts Administration (Domstolsverket) forecasts a shortage of 1.2 billion kronor.

If no action is taken, the combined deficits of the four agencies will amount to a shortfall of 12.4 billion kronor by 2012.