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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193944 Find in a Library
Title: Prison and Probation: The Swedish Perspective
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:64  Issue:1  Dated:February 2002  Pages:54-57,94
Author(s): Bertel Osterdahl
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 5
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article contains information on Swedish prison and probation practices, Swedish criminal policy, crime statistics, prison and probation statistics, inmates, and recent developments.
Abstract: The main task of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service is to enforce the sentences passed by the courts. Swedish criminal policy is based on the following ideas: the punishment of criminal acts results in the deprivation of liberty for probationers; incarceration has damaging effects; and alternatives to incarceration should be used to the greatest extent possible. The main political parties are in agreement about the importance of avoiding incarceration. They also agree that when incarceration must be used, it must maintain humane character and offer treatment programs and opportunities to keep inmates in contact with society. The total number of crimes reported from 1990 to 2000 was relatively constant, varying from 1 million to 1.2 million per year. During this period, the main increase was in crimes against persons, with assaults and robberies accounting for the increase. Up until 1996, between 12,000 and 14,000 sentenced offenders entered Swedish prisons every year. Since then, the number of inmates entering prisons annually has been between 9,000 and 9,500. Between 1996 and 2000, about 6,000 offenders were sentenced to probation and 5,000 conditionally released inmates began their probation or post-release supervision. The prevalence of mentally disturbed inmates in prisons has increased because psychiatric hospitals are less willing to receive mentally disturbed, disruptive, and sometimes violent inmates. In addition, narcotic drug dependency among inmates entering prison has increased. Budgetary constraints and the desire to improve the effectiveness of Swedish prisons and probation have led to a number of developments in legislation, organization of probation, staff development, and collaboration with trade unions. Maintaining a humane prison system that is not isolated from society and, at the same time, exercises an adequate degree of control requires a delicate balancing act. The Swedish Prison and Probation Service has worked toward maintaining safety and security, improving the chances of offenders living a crime-free life and enhancing the quality of support management.
Main Term(s): Correctional reform; Corrections in foreign countries; Corrections management; Sweden
Index Term(s): Community-based corrections (adult); Correctional facilities; Correctional law; Corrections effectiveness; Corrections management; Corrections policies; Corrections statistics; Foreign inmate programs; Foreign probation or parole services; Jail reform; Law reform; Parole statistics; Prison conditions; Prisoner's rights; Probation statistics; Recidivism; Rehabilitation
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