skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 201210 Find in a Library
Title: Zero Tolerance Criminal Policy and Restorative Justice: A Hidden Link? (From Restorative Justice in Context: International Practice and Directions, P 285-303, 2003, Elmar G. M. Weitekamp and Hans-Jurgen Kerner, eds. -- See NCJ-201195)
Author(s): Peter Lindstrom
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter discusses zero tolerance policy in relation to crime and offenders in Sweden.
Abstract: In order to achieve the goals of reduced crime and improved public security in Sweden, it is often claimed that what is needed are reduced levels of tolerance for crime. Zero tolerance requires that the police should respond to any and all offenses and that offending should result in the punishment of the offender. A demand in the crime policy debate is that the justice system reacts particularly with respect to young offenders. In Sweden, an extremely intensive weeding-out process takes place among the offenses against the criminal law that are reported and discovered. This weeding-out process has now assumed such proportions that the question stands whether the system is still working on the principle of an obligation to always prosecute offenses. There has been a trend that police do not report offenses to the prosecutor, primarily in relation to the offense of shoplifting. Besides being an offense where this particular discretionary power is used, shoplifting is interesting from the perspective of crime policy for several reasons. It is a so-called everyday crime and should be given priority by the police. It is also an offense that is committed by both younger and older people. Perceptions of this form of offending have changed over time. The question of the sanctions that should be applied to youths that commit criminal offenses is a recurring theme in the crime-policy debate. The proportion of young offenders being issued with a decision not to prosecute has fallen, while the proportion being placed in the care of the social services has increased. One possible explanation might be that the character of police reported youth offending has changed. Recent youth offenses are comprised to a large extent of assault, shoplifting, and vandalism. There is a shift away from theft offenses and towards violence. Abandoning the justice system’s ability to use discretionary powers in relation to minor offenses and to yield to populist attitudes promoting zero tolerance runs the risk of generating unreasonable costs for crime policy on both economic and social levels. 1 table, 3 figures, 3 notes, 18 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile case management; Sweden
Index Term(s): Case management; Case processing; Foreign criminal justice systems; Foreign juvenile delinquency; Foreign juvenile justice systems; Juvenile justice management
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.