Sweden needs hundreds of new prison cells: Justice Minister

Sweden needs hundreds of new prison cells and detention spaces in the coming years according to Justice Minister Morgan Johansson, who thinks there will be more criminals handed sentences and therefore more space needed.

Sweden needs hundreds of new prison cells: Justice Minister
Swedish Justice Minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

“The big challenge of the next mandate period will be ensuring that the penal system is shaped so it is capable of taking in those who are now sentenced, and rehabilitates them so that they not return to crime,” Johansson told news agency TT.

With police getting more resources and the punishment in areas like weapons crime more severe, hundreds of new prisons and detention centres will be needed according to the minister.

“Hundreds is not a lot in this context,” he noted, pointing to at least 80 people being detained suspected of links to shootings and gang crime in Malmö alone at the moment.

The Swedish government wants the police to prioritise combatting organised crime including shootings next year, as well as sexual offences.

There were at least 306 shootings in Sweden over 2017, with 41 people killed and 135 injured. Johansson thinks a greater number of weapons being available is the explanation.

READ ALSO: Sweden's shootings in figures

Asked if Swedish cities could now be compared to those in the US when it comes to shootings, he said no.

“If you look at New York in terms of lethal violence, even though it has reduced significantly over the last 20 years, it’s still much higher then Sweden and most major European cities.”

READ ALSO: Why America's gun culture made us raise our children in Sweden