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EDUCATION

Swedish prisoners seek higher learning

An increasing number of prisoners at Swedish correctional facilities are taking the chance to study, according to new figures from the Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården).

In 2009, 1,060 prisoners successfully completed 1,775 courses, almost double the number achieved in 2007, the figures show.

The interest for adult further education has grown continuously in recent years and it is especially courses at tertiary and high-school level that have grown in popularity. Swedish for immigrants (SFI) courses have also experienced a boom in demand.

It is not just the number of grades and students which is so positive, the standards are also high, the service said.

“We maintain a very high level of quality. Quality and offering the possibility for everybody to study have always been top priorities,” said Lena Axelsson, head of education at the service, in a statement on Wednesday.

Axelsson pointed out that grades awarded by the prisons service are worth as much as those issued by other educational establishments in society.

“The prisons service operates according to the same laws and conditions as all schools in society and the schools inspection monitors our operations,” she said.

The service also pointed out in its statement that grades issued by the prisons service do not state where they have been issued.

The Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården) employs 125 teachers at its facilities across the country.

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HEALTH

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 

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