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Prisoner numbers fall in Sweden

The Local · 24 Feb 2013, 13:08

Published: 24 Feb 2013 13:08 GMT+01:00

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According to the Dagens Nyheter broadsheet, Sweden has the lowest number of inmates in 11 years.

The government has introduced several penal reforms. The biggest one came in 2010, when penalties for violent crimes were tightened on several points.

At the time, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården) estimated that Sweden would need 700 new prison places since an increase in inmates was seen as a logical outcome of stricter punishments.

Instead, the trend has been the opposite of what was expected.

New statistics from the Prison and Probation Service show that the number of people imprisoned in 2012 was the lowest since 2001, when Social Democrat politician Thomas Bodström was the minister for justice.

A report published by a number of legal and police authorities and submitted to the government predicts that the number of inmates will continue to decrease.

It will fall by 11 percent between 2012 and 2016, according to the report.

Ulf Jonson of the Prison and Probation Service told Dagens Nyheter that there are several reasons why fewer Swedes end up in prison.

He mentioned that in many cases prosecutors decide to drop the case or order the criminal to pay fines instead of serving a prison sentence.

He also pointed out that a suspended sentence with community service is becoming more common.

Story continues below…

Henrik Tham, a professor in criminology at Stockholm University, added that there has also been a drop in crime rates, "even if many do not believe it".

He also explained that Swedes have become more prone to reporting crimes, which means that, according to some measurements, crime rates appear to be on the rise.

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Your comments about this article

13:21 February 24, 2013 by isenhand
interesting. Opposite to what I'd expect.
13:53 February 24, 2013 by Migga
If anything I suspect the police and courts are under much more pressure of rising crime that they lack the resources to bind criminals to their crimes. It falls apart in court if it even makes it there. Or, as it`s said in the article, that the punishments are fines and community service instead of prison.
00:33 February 25, 2013 by B Slick
Its comforting to know that there are many more crimiminals and thugs loose on the streets in sweden today than 10 years ago.
00:34 February 25, 2013 by BackpackerKev
"policy of introducing harsher punishments" Sweden has a policy, but is it enforced? No.

This is down to incompetent prosecutions wanting an easy pay day instead of justice,

Incompetent judges who naively agree with the weak prosecutors and hand out soft judgements for serious offences/re-offences

There is no drop in crime rates, it just fewer offenders are being captured by the police and/or people not reporting small crimes due to knowledge of the poor police service.
00:39 February 25, 2013 by B Slick
01:41 February 25, 2013 by Enjoyourlife
What!! I thought immmigrants are criminals!
11:18 February 25, 2013 by Max Reaver
Now there are fewer prisoners, the government says "Wooow! our society is so safe so nobody needs to get convicted, since everybody is following the law!"

What they dont tell you is that more would-be prisoners are now roaming the streets.
01:10 February 26, 2013 by BackpackerKev
Harsher Punishments?

I refer you to the following....

"The man who abducted a nine-year-old girl in Gothenburg last year and threatened to sell her as a sex slave was sentenced to two years in prison on Monday after being found guilty of kidnapping."

This not only lets down the Swedish justice system, but lets down the Human Race.
08:55 February 26, 2013 by salalah
They sent them directly to Guantanamo instead of keeping them here, without trial
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