The Swedish government wants to increase the penalties for young offenders

Morgan JohanssonPhoto: Jonas Ekströmer / TT

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s government wants to remove the penalty rebate for young offenders and allow 18-year-olds to be sentenced to life in prison.

Today, offenders aged 18 to 20 today receive a penalty rebate in Sweden, but the Swedish government now wants to remove the rebate when it comes to serious crimes.

“It is better to focus on crimes committed by those who systematically commit them and have a criminal lifestyle,” Minister of Justice Morgan Johansson said. He is now starting a study that will be ready in 2023.

Life sentence

“We want a stricter view of repeated offenses… I think it could be important for breaking up criminal careers,” the minister said, adding that the courts do not always use the maximum sentence today.

The proposal covers crimes such as murder, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, and aggravated gun crime. Offenders aged 18 to 20 should also be able to be sentenced to life imprisonment, Johansson noted.

Life imprisonment is not a time-limited sentence in Sweden, but after at least ten years’ imprisonment, the convicted person can request that the sentence be reversed. For this to happen, the sentence can not be less than 18 years, which is the longest time-limited sentence in Sweden.

Investigated in 2017

There is great political pressure to drop the penalty rebate for young people in Sweden after several gang-related shootings with young perpetrators. The Left Party is the only party that has not openly supported removing the penalty rebate.

In 2017, the issue of dropping the penalty rebate for young people was investigated, but the proposal was met with great opposition. 

Lawyer Petra Lundh, who led the investigation, believed that there was no empirical or experiential support for more severe punishment for young offenders.

She also stated that the research shows that the ability to assess consequences and resist pressure from others is not fully developed until some time after reaching 18 years of age.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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