I’ve written about Sweden’s justice system a few times. Mostly because I find it to be a bit ridiculous. Not in that they don’t provide justice or that it’s a country full of uncontrolled criminals. The thing that gets me is the prison sentences. More specifically prison sentences for violent crimes.
So the news today caught my eye. To say the least. On Wednesday, a convicted murderer escaped in Stockholm. This man has been convicted of murder and attempted murder. And he escaped.
Now I said this news caught my eye. And an escaped murderer will tend to have that effect on people. But there were a few facts to the case that really caught my eye. And they tend to be stereotypically Swedish.
First, this man, convicted of murder and attempted murder was only sentenced to prison for 14 years in 1999. But it gets better. Because, despite being sentenced for 14 years he was eligible for parole this coming July. 2009. He was eligible for parole after ten years. Murder and attempted murder will get you ten years if you’re on your best behavior.
I know I already said this, but it gets better. When I hear of prison escapes I think of Shawshank Redemption. Or maybe some classic Alcatraz movie. You know, well planned escapes that took years to prepare. Maybe a tunnel had to be dug with a spoon. I don’t know. I’ve never escaped from prison. Stockholm’s escaped murderer didn’t have to dig a tunnel with a spoon though. In fact he didn’t have to do anything exciting at all. He just walked away.
He just melted into the crowd and got away. Because he was out running errands in Hötorget. A little shopping square in central Stockholm. Now with Christmas coming up, these little shopping squares tend to be pretty packed. There are large crowds to fight through. People selling glögg and pepparkakor. You need to have sharp elbows. A killer’s mentality if you will.
Which bring us back to our escaped murderer. Who more than most people, has a killer’s mentality. For the record, he was with two police officers acting as his guards. If that makes it any better. It seems that convicted murderers get field trips.
Our main character in this sordid little tale had already had eight field trips. Without incident. Because he had handled himself so well on the previous eight excursions, the police here in Stockholm seem surprised by his escape. Maybe he had been planning this for a while. Lulling his captors into sleep with his good behavior instead of chipping away at a tunnel with a spoon.
Regardless of his master plan, he got away. But don’t worry. They do not consider him dangerous. Because a man convicted of murder and attempted murder and then chose to escape with only about eight months left before parole is not a threat at all.
Welcome to Sweden. Where convicted murderers get field trips.