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Sweden to get tougher on violent crime

TT/The Local · 28 Jan 2010, 09:11

Published: 28 Jan 2010 09:11 GMT+01:00

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"This is to clarify for the courts and others that we take a particularly serious view of this type of crime. Aggravated assault is always very serious but there are different levels of hell, so to speak, and that needs to be reflected here," Justice Minister Beatrice Ask told Sveriges Radio.

The minster indicated that the new legislation would tackle crimes including, for example, the assault of disabled people, elderly people, as well as forms of assault "that are akin to torture".

Especially brutal assaults would lead to a minimum jail sentence of four years. Under current legislation, aggravated assault is punishable by a minimum of one year in prison.

The government also wishes to raise the minimum sentence for aggravated extortion from six months to one year.

The Justice Minister also said the courts would be encouraged to set tougher sentences in cases where there was a clear element of organized crime.

Story continues below…

"We need to have sanctions that are considered reasonable and logical. Obviously there have to be consequences for people who commit serious crimes," said Ask.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:58 January 28, 2010 by byke
Is going to prison in Sweden a deterrent and punishment?

(as most say its a nice all expenses paid home).

I say violent prisoners should be self funding in terms of work offset to upkeep costs.
10:16 January 28, 2010 by misssh
lethal injection ....????
12:31 January 28, 2010 by Bensonradar
Is that Justice Minister Beatrice Ask in the photo, or someone who has just been assaulted?
12:37 January 28, 2010 by Mib
Yeah... alot of talk and waffle. Words are cheap....and when they get to prison, they seem to have a reasonable lifestyle. Do they try to reform these characters or just let them do their time and go out again.....? Doesn't sentencing etc all come down to money and prison places? When you get a Man being let off after sexually assaulting his son after using the excuse he was too drunk and thought the boy was his Wife......what makes me believe that they will fulfil their promises? Total BS!
12:42 January 28, 2010 by krrodman
The approach of Sweden to violent criminals is simply this:

If you are nice to them, they will be nice back to you.

12:57 January 28, 2010 by krigeren
Sweden not only needs longer sentences for those convicted of violent crime but a mandate for police to enforce the law..including more resources, community oriented policing, more ethnic badges, 0 tolerance.
12:58 January 28, 2010 by Beynch
This is not a day too soon! And hopefully it will be done without these pathetic PC considerations, that the liberal left, primarily spawned by the Social Democratic party, has instilled as societal norms. But there are no doubt sticky fingered lawyers out there already scheming to dilute any attempt at clamping down on violence. The Swedish public is fed up with the increasing violence in its midst and welcome tougher, longer, prison sentences for gratuitous violence, regardless of its origins. Go for it! Go get'em! Lock'em up! Get tough!
14:22 January 28, 2010 by peropaco
Beatrice Ask looks like a pauper. I wonder why Reindeer is afraid of introducing legislation to ban the burka? Is it the fear of uncontrollable behaviour by the unrully?
15:06 January 28, 2010 by Indignerad
Good news.

Beynch is still the most predictable commenter on the internet, though.
15:07 January 28, 2010 by Z-man

The notion of treating people nicely so they will respond in kind is not that crazy. In most cases, it actually works to change the long-term attitudes of criminals and societal misfits. (I have no time to look up all the research data right now).

The countries with death penalties, the harshest sentences on criminals, are also as a rule the ones with societies with the most criminals and the most violent crimes. Just look at USA (1+% of population incarcerated), Russia & China. Countries plentiful with penitentiaries wherein criminals are housed in the most inhumane incarceration environments exist only to breed more crime and nurture career criminals. Make the prison environment more human, more firendly, and it is less likely to create a breakdown in social norms where new societies emerge (gangs).

There will be many who will disagree, but discussion of crime and punishment has been going on forever. We do not live in an ideal world, and kindness is not always returned, and does not always serve to be reformative. There will always be those who will fall through the cracks and abuse kindness. But in the end, we have to ask: have harsher sentences/treatments in the USA successfully reduced crime? What is the relapse vs. reform rate for criminality in Sweden, where prisoners are treated more kindly?

I don't have the stats now, but I'd venture to say Sweden is miles ahead in reforming criminals than the US of A.
15:23 January 28, 2010 by animal_politicum
The problem with the Swedish penal system is that it's largely a Potemkin village. Sweden has bought many programs for the rehabilitation of criminals which have been successfully used for example in Canada, but they have not given these programs the necessary funding to be effective. In a typical Swedish manner the Government has settled for making a decision which looks good, progressive, and enlightened on paper but the politicians have not been so interested in making the penal system actually working to achieve its end. It looks progressive and good in theory, but it is not given the funding needed to work in practice -- the essence of Swedish policymaking.
17:06 January 28, 2010 by krrodman

Z-man. You seem like a thoughtful and well read fellow. As I am sure you are aware, the debate over the purpose of incarceration has lasted well over 800 years in western culture. Is the purpose of prison to punish? Or, is the purpose of prison to rehabilitate? In fact neither approach has worked very well. The recidivism rate for criminals, especially violent criminals, is extraordinarily high.

I do believe that a high percentage of non-violent crime is situation dependent and these people can be rehabilitated. I do not believe that a child molester can be rehabilitated. I do not believe a serial rapist can be rehabilitated. I do not believe a murdered can be rehabilitated. Let me rephrase - the recurrence rate is too high for violent criminals. Let me ask you this question: if you knew in advance that 50% of serial rapists will rape again after prison - but you could not predict which ones would rape again - would you be willing to release any of them from jail? I would not. The criminal does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, a law-abiding member of society deserves to be protected from criminals.
18:14 January 28, 2010 by M-Larson
Come on...

I really think that we are doing great and more than 99.99% of countries around the world envy us. Well, there's nothing perfect but our laws and rules are quite good.
20:48 January 28, 2010 by glamelixir
I agree with them doing some kind of work to pay their own stay in jail. Somehow giving back to society for their crime and the expenses they are costing to our taxes.

M-Larson: I think Sweden is doing better than many countries (def not the 99%) because the class difference is not so big yet. The more this will increase the higher crime is going to get, and then your laws will be so naif and outdated that it will be hard to catch up.

It is time to Sweden to face that they are not living in the 70's anymore.
00:02 January 29, 2010 by badgerknox
well said, krrodman.

on a related note, most people in the U.S., perhaps out of ignorance and perhaps because we really believe it feel sorry for socialized countries. Claiming that 99.99 percent of the countries in the word envy Sweden is silly: there aren't that many countries and this one doesn't envy Sweden the high taxes, the burgeoning crime rate, the recent immigration issues and the long dark winters. Sure, we have problems here, but most Americans would live no where else. Many latin Americans feel that way too, which is why they all move here too.

Don't get me wrong: I think Sweden has a lot to offer and is a good example to the world in many respects, but the crimnal code isn't one of them. I remember not too long ago a crazy guy who had killed someone and done his 7 years was loose and shot some police (in Stockholm I think), killing at least one. That probably would not have happened here, because we try to keep our criminals off the streets and away from the good citizens, at least once they are identified as bad eggs.
03:11 January 29, 2010 by slickscott
brutal assaults happen in sweden??? Wow. Well I know for a fact that aint perpetrated by pu$$y natural born swedes but probably by the mideast foreigner they let in.
14:32 January 29, 2010 by JonnyDee
Slickscott, that was an idiotic post and does nothing to further this debate.

To the rest of you; I agree Sweden's criminal code needs to reflect the changes happening in it's society, as long as they dont follow the US model which just seems to focus on punishment and not on figuring out;

A) What is causing this violence & doing something to change that.

And B) Reforming or deporting these violent offenders.
22:51 January 29, 2010 by Coalbanks
Prison should be the 1st step. Then there should be a meaningful parole with training, work, counselling or they just return to old habits, relationships & back to prison. I'v seen it happen many times in Canada to people I know.
12:04 January 30, 2010 by ameribrit
Just wondering why rape is not included as an example in the short list of "especially brutal crimes".

One of the things that occurs in Sweden, besides the unfathomably short jail terms dished out by the system, is the the even more unfathomable law that prevents the public knowing who it is amongst them that is a convicted child rapist, for example. The reason given is " It could hinder the child rapists ability to reintegrate into society"

This goes for most crimes here in Sweden by the way.

I love living in Sweden but sometimes the mentality here is just plain naive. I am all for trying to help out and turning someones life around and getting them to be a productive member of society, but we have to realize that there are some people out there that are just plain wired wrong. It may not even be their fault that they are wired wrong, but that doesn't mean they should be allowed to baby sit the kids.
14:30 January 30, 2010 by Uncle

Agree on the child molesters, but in regards to rape - the definition of rape in Sweden is extremely fuzzy. That is why it is no 1 country in rape complaints in Europe, but low on rape convictions.

A girl who was as drunk as the guy when they had sex can put him in jail for quite a while and drag him through courts even if she initiated the entire thing. There were also suggestions that everyone accused of rape should "prove consent", which makes every one-night stand - a minefield. Perhaps it is fine by you as a woman, until it will strike your drunk brother or teenage son, who did not call some vengeful bimbo the day after.


Of course even if he is found not guilty (like most of the cases) his reputation is ruined forever. So I would suggest defining rape and then increasing the times in prison.
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