Criminal Policy in Sweden – from rehabilitation to prison?

Annalena Yngborn
Deutsches Jugendinstitut e. V.

German Youth Institute - Centre for the Prevention of Youth Crime

While taking a highly liberal position on this matter during the second half of the 20th century, the Swedish criminal policy is today on its way back to a view which is compa-ratively much more conservative. Signs of this change can be clearly seen if you look at the Swedish prison system: the data about people sitting in prison has risen continuously since the end of 1990 and parallel to that the statistics show that these people are sen-tenced to a much longer imprisonment than before. Due to an amendment of the Swedish penal law in 2006 and 2007 there had been changes in the prisons themselves, too: when the Swedish Parliament had passed in a first step partly new forms of releases, the dele-gates enacted in a second step new rules relating to the organization of the Swedish pris-on system. These clauses imply restrictions for the prison inmates rather explicitly.
The presentation tries to give an overview of this change inside the Swedish criminal pol-icy during the last ten years. Furthermore the contribution attempts to give some possible explanations for this turnabout. In the end it could be interesting to discuss to which ex-tent these explanations – which mostly reach over the field of mere criminal policy – are appropriate. Another question is, if it is possible to draw conclusions out of the Swedish situation which could be applied to the German system.

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