"To take someone's life is the most despicable act that you can do and there is a need to make felt how seriously society views this," Justice Minister Beatrice Ask said on Friday as her ministry presented a proposal for a tightening of laws that would allow Swedish courts to dole out life sentences in the majority of murder cases.
Ask added that making sentencing stricter back in 2009 had not gone far enough, as the number of life sentences had since decreased rather than increased.
"Life in prison should be the normal punishment for murder," said the conservative minister.
In an official statement, Ask detailed several circumstances that could be taken into account when a court considered whether to sentence a person to life. Many bore the hallmarks of an attempt to home in on domestic violence.
– The murder took place in the victim's home
– The victim is close to the murderer
– The victim's family, for example their children, were forced to witness the murder
– Excessive pain proceeded the murder
– The murder was premeditated,
– The victim could be considered to be especially vulnerable or defenceless.
– The murder was committed for money
– The assailants outnumbered the victim
– The murder victim is killed when they are on duty
– When the murder takes place to promote or to conceal other crime
Ask also proposed to tighten rules to make sure lifestyle criminals and those who fall back into crime risked the life sentence.
The justice minister's proposal did not include a tally for how much an increase in life sentences would cost Sweden's Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården).