Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Swedish Government Takes My Advice

Clearly the Swedish government is reading this blog. My post against the Swedish justice system obviously hit a nerve and there are now calls for a raise in the amount of years a person can spend behind bars for murder. I’m pumped about this. And of course honored that I have such clout in the Swedish government. I think it is an excellent idea. Others don’t agree. They just aren’t reading my posts carefully enough.

I read in the Stockholm Metro (in Swedish I’m afraid) the other day that of the three people they interviewed, all connected to government or the justice system someway, not a single one thought this was a good idea. In fact, one believed that increasing the penalty would actually lead to more murders. The man in question is Börge Hellström (scroll down to page 2 to see his quotes, in Swedish). Now stay with me here because his reasoning was mind boggling. He said that murderers tend to be spiteful and angry people (agreed) and that if they were kept in jail too long they would just be angrier and more vengeful when they finally go out. So when they did get out they would go on am murdering spree of course.

Well the problem with this reasoning is that the man interviewed seems to have forgotten that the idea is to keep these lovely criminals in jail for up to 30 years. That’s a whole lot of time to mellow. And age. And learn from their mistakes and crimes. Let’s say a murderer goes to prison at the age of 30. He stays in jail for his full sentence, which is unlikely here in Sweden but bear with me. By the time he gets out he’s 60 years old. Very seldom do 60 year olds go about killing people no matter how long they have been in jail getting angrier by the year. Sure it happens every now and again, but when was the last time you saw a 60 year old person and actually feared for your life? It’s been awhile.

The Swedes are on the right track though. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I’m going out on a limb though and I’m going to say that nothing will change. When it comes to this sort of thing Sweden tends to be a little slow in reform. There is something to be said for that though, because when the reform is made the Swedish government tends to have most of the country behind them. Nothing wrong with that at all. It’s just sometimes you want to see some hustle. Bureaucracy just gets in the way I suppose. Happens the world over. Even the Swedish Model can’t avoid that.

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