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Sweden Is Closing Many Prisons Due to Lack of Prisoners 752

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the literal-land-of-the-free dept.
rtoz writes "Sweden is taking steps to close many prisons due to lack of prisoners. This year alone, four prisons and a detention center got closed in Sweden. The percentage of the population in Sweden prison is significantly lower than in most other countries. ... Though the Swedish Government is taking steps to close the prisons, the crime rate in Sweden has increased slightly. It seems they are planning to take steps for preventing crime rather than focusing on jailing people involved in criminal activities."
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Sweden Is Closing Many Prisons Due to Lack of Prisoners

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @01:27AM (#45397857)

    On the other hand, our neighbors to the West are fine with jailing a MS patient for using pot to help her with her condition: http://www.thelocal.se/20080125/9775

  • Re:Remember when... (Score:2, Informative)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @02:20AM (#45398047) Journal

    No, i do not remember that and you do not either unless your teachers were morons.

    Communist first got a bad name in the US durring the 1919 failed attemp to overthrow yhe US government. After the communist party was broken up and most foreing member were deported, the remaining members went underground or joined the socialist party. Then WWII happened and afterwards the openly communist in Europe joined the socialists due to a large stigma communism had right after the war and with the start of the vold war.

    If you actually had a teacher mentioning something about Russian jails, it was most likely about how lots of people were jailed for speaking thier minds(free speech) which a lot fifferent then you think you heard.

  • by Dionysus (12737) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @02:24AM (#45398077) Homepage

    What the US should be doing is disarming its law ENFORCEMENT agency and let it become again a police force.

    But according to Fox News, how can you be a democracy if the police is unarmed? [youtube.com]

  • by dyingtolive (1393037) <brad.arnett@notf ... g ['hir' in gap]> on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @02:35AM (#45398117)
    You're totally right, I haven't seen them. I'm talking out my ass. Let me look at them. Thank god we have Wikipedia for these things.

    Sweden: -17.632
    United States: 87.859

    Wow. Yup, just like you said. Theirs is negative and the US's is so much higher. What was I thinking? Hey, I gotta read up more about this Debt to GDP thingy so I stop making an ass of myself and be smart too. Good thing I still have wikipedia open:

    A low debt-to-GDP ratio indicates an economy that produces and sells goods and services sufficient to pay back debts without incurring further debt. Governments aim for low debt-to-GDP ratios, but geopolitical and economic considerations - including interest rates, war, recessions, and other variables - influence the borrowing practices of a nation and the choice to incur further debt.

    ...huh.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @03:06AM (#45398239)

    There is no such thing as rape insurance in Sweden. It is a Greek myth: http://www.thelocal.se/20110415/33232

  • Re:mental health (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @03:32AM (#45398345)

    National taxes alone account for nearly 50% of an individual's income, with regional and local taxes potentially adding another 30%.

    Your numbers are kind of off unless you're bending over backwards trying to make Swedish taxes seem high by adding up sales tax, income tax, taxes your employer pays and so on like some Swedish neo-liberals like to do in order to be able to say that the average Swede pays 80% (or whatever) of their income in taxes.

    Yes, sales tax here is pretty high (25% for a lot of things) and income tax for most people is in the 30-40% range but it's not some dystopian society where your paycheck (eh, direct bank transfer, no one uses checks around here and no one has for a very long time) goes almost exclusively to the government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @03:57AM (#45398429)

    When the current goverment gained power they did it on among other things a law and order platform. Increasing police budget and promising harsher punishment.

    What the swedish supreme court has done on the other hand is lower the punishments for most crimes. Leading to empty prisons.

    The direct result is an all time high in violent crime and cases such as these:
    6 youth beat an old man unconsious and to an inch of is life for telling them not to kick a dog. Their punishment? 2 weeks community service.
    6 youth locked a girl in a room and gangraped her, the court believed her but did not think she was in a helpless position. Their punishment? None, not even an appeal.

    Welcome to Fubaristan.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:10AM (#45398475)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

    Sweden is 44:th on the list and as such probably isn't eligible for the "highest suicide rates"-prize this year...

  • Re:mental health (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:11AM (#45398479)

    Go home and do your homework again..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_Sweden [wikipedia.org]

    The tax-pressure is just above 50% (but it's the company that pays 20% of that so you only see ~30-32% yourself) .. But for those extra 20% (over the taxes in the US for example) we get free healthcare and even paid sick-leave by the goverment if you catch something that takes a long time to get rid of and then we have really generous social security..

    On top of this we also have things like tax-reduction when buying some services like someone to clean your home (to make people hire people that pay taxes) and when doing renovation of your home you can deduct money for the workers that do it, but not the material..
    The deductions are up to 50000SEK each and that will lower your tax.. (ie 50000*0.3 == reduced tax for most people)..

    Sure we have a incremental taxes also so if you earn more than a specific amount ( do the research yourself ) you get to pay higher taxes on the amount above that..

    The average pay in Sweden is ~28000SEK (number from 2012) and you get to keep ~70% of that...

    Then we have the healthcare.. It has NOT gone up due to privitization... The private companies compete with public companies for the same amount of money for the same amount of services... Ie all they do is optimize the routines to be able to make a bit of profit but this also results in that they will lower their offer next year to try and get the deal making public hospitals work harder to stay in business.. Just go do your homework.. There are tons of information on the subject if you manage to actually do a search on the subject.

    So again... go and do your homework...

  • Re:How? (Score:4, Informative)

    by dave420 (699308) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:17AM (#45398507)
    Sweden != Switzerland. And Switzerland is having a problem with gun crime. So you're about as wrong as you can be, which is not surprising for a gun nut.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:41AM (#45398605)

    The Tea Party is made up of nothing more than a bunch of borderline delusional self-serving arseholes, who think freedom means "Whatever you like, as long as it's our way." They give the Boston Tea Party a bad name.

    But then, you're attempting to apply a United States political lobby group to another country, so I guess you're a fucking idiot as well.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @04:44AM (#45398623)

    Sweden hasn't been genetically and socially homogenous in a long time. They have Sami minority in the north, Finnish, Danish and Norwegian across the country and they have been taking refugees to the point where they now have about 10% of nation formed from first and second generation migrants from various conflicts across the globe.

  • by TheP4st (1164315) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:08AM (#45398727)

    Sweden also has the highest suicide rates Strange thing you left out those facts, guess they did not fit your case.

    Strange thing you left out the fact that the USA have a higher suicide rate than Sweden, guess it did not fit your case. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate [wikipedia.org]

  • Socialism myth (Score:5, Informative)

    by denoir (960304) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:10AM (#45398741)

    I'm not sure why there is this weird myth in the US about Sweden being "socialist". We've had a right wing government for the past 8 years. There has also been in the past two decades a sharp turn towards libertarian ideology in Sweden (our right is not socially conservative) and this is also true for the social democrats who have very little of socialism left in them.

    Health care isn't free, nor are child care and social services. They are in some cases heavily subsidized, but definitely not free. It is accessible to everyone and it works very well for most people and their needs. It sort of sucks for more advanced medicine: If you are going to have a child for instance, it's superb while if you have say lung cancer, your chances are much better if you have the operation in the US.

    The rather dysfunctional medical care system in the US is not a socialist/capitalist thing - it's just a system that doesn't work very well for a lot of people. The insurance model of financing healthcare is for instance very questionable etc.

    As for other stuff such as taxes, I could mention stuff like that Sweden has no inheritance taxes, no real estate taxes or that the financial system is orders of magnitude less regulated than the US one etc Sweden is also somewhat of a corporate tax haven - with the right corporate structure you can get away with paying very little taxes. The bottom line is that from a Swedish perspective at least in in some respects the US is far more socialist than Sweden.

    Ideologically you could say that the typical Swede is a pragmatic individualist who thinks that the role of the state is to protect, liberate and enable the individual. Unlike a 'pure' socialist system the role of the state is limited to problems it actually can solve. Unlike a 'pure' capitalist system the state has an enabling role as well (positive freedoms) rather than just a protective role (negative freedoms). If you things those concepts are muddled, you are quite right. Hence the pragmatism. And it sort of works. It's far from perfect. It's very disappointing to those that wish to classify it ideologically. There are many small issues and some huge ones (integration into society of immigrants is one example) but on the whole it is a decent society - and much better off than 30 years ago when it was much easier to classify ideologically.

  • by Eunuchswear (210685) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:14AM (#45398757) Journal

    On a slightly more serious note, Sweden has an advantage in that the country is genetically and socially homogenous.

    14.3% of the Swedish population are foreign born.

    Around 20% are either foreign born or children of two foreign born parents.

  • by javilon (99157) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @05:38AM (#45398863) Homepage

    In fact, that is how it is in most of Europe, AFAIK. Even if we don't agree with the government's
    policies, we still trust and respect them.

    That may be in the North. Here in the south (Spain) we have the opposite. Crowded jails, corrupt politicians and a public that doesn't trust its government at all. Not that we can get rid of them. They have us by the balls.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @07:45AM (#45399237)

    Some more figures about Sweden, shall we?

    Health expenditure (in percent of GDP): 9.4 (USA: 17.9)
    Physician density (per 1000): 3.8 (USA: 2.4)
    Adult obesity: 18.6% (USA: 33%)
    Education expenditure (in percent of GDP): 7.3 (USA: 5.4)
    Public debt (2012/2011, in percent of GDP): 38.2/38.4 (USA: 72.5/67.8)

    Unlike your claims, I have a source [cia.gov] for them. Well, of course only if you believe that socialist propaganda machine that the CIA is.

  • Re:Kind of the point (Score:5, Informative)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @08:14AM (#45399349)

    That's why a lot of countries now move away from fixed fines to "daily rates". I.e. you pay depending on your income, and that fine is then 10, 30, 60, 90... days of your income. I.e. 30 days = 1 month's pay.

    If you don't want to tell the court how much you make, that's fine. They'll simply estimate. Guess on what side they usually err if you let them guess.

  • Lead (Score:5, Informative)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @08:21AM (#45399375)
    One reason for the almost world-wide reduction in crime is the reduction of lead in the environment, thanks to unleaded fuel.
  • Re: can they (Score:4, Informative)

    by jythie (914043) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:27AM (#45400277)
    No, you are not. That myth exists mostly on TV and internet forums. In the real world rape trials are notoriously difficult to prosecute with an extremely high chance of failure... in no small part due to these myths and juries believing them.
  • by Mab_Mass (903149) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @12:26PM (#45401673) Homepage Journal

    It's amusing to me that you think outspending on health is bad and that outspending on education is good. [This assumes that all your data points were intended to show Sweden superior].

    I fail to see the humor here. Sweden manages to spend just over half of the US on health, but manages to have nearly half the infant mortality rate [wikipedia.org] and a longer life expectancy [cia.gov]. It seems that they must be doing something right.

    Please don't make the mistake of thinking that all of these numbers are independent.

  • Re:can they (Score:4, Informative)

    by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @03:06PM (#45403869)

    When was this?

    Well, it never really worked in the U.S. You can read about the various attempts at prison reform in the U.S. over the centuries here [wikipedia.org].

    Basically, from the late 1700s through at least much of the 1800s, the U.S. had a number of trends in prison structure and style that were intended to "reform" or "rehabilitate" inmates, rather than just to punish them. We can see this in the names of institutions and departments that predate the modern trend toward euphemisms: "reformatory" (where you were "reformed), "penitentiary" (where you learn penitence and experience personal guilt for what you did), "Department of Corrections" or "correctional facilities" (where your deviant behavior or defects are corrected), etc.

    Basically, all of this was a reaction to the idea of public punishments -- often fairly horrific -- that tended to be the norm in the 1700s and earlier.

    However, all of the attempts at prison reform tended to go in other extremes, which often weren't effective either -- and sometimes made inmates worse. For example, the early "penitentiary" system in U.S. was based on the idea that prisoners would live in complete isolation, only interacting with guards when masked. Guards would never talk to them, and even in some cases would wear cloth on their shoes so prisoners would never even be aware of their presence. The idea was supposedly that the prisoner in complete isolation would be forced to contemplate his crimes (without any other contact with anything else), and thereby gradually realize the error of his ways.

    Of course, putting human beings in complete isolation for years often tends to drive them to forms of insanity. So, this system often failed.

    There was a parade of other types of reforms, all generally well-meaning, and attempting to put an end to corporal punishment. But the reality was that they often made prisoners suffer severe psychological damage in other ways, and in many cases the guards would still beat and abused them anyway....

    Eventually, you also had the segregation of "insane" criminals from the rest, which led to further attempts at "curing" those who had "mental defects," in extreme cases resulting in surgeries and other craziness.

    So, I'm not really sure about what the GP is talking about, except that there was a general trend toward (supposedly) non-violent punishment beginning soon after the American Revolution in the U.S. And a lot of reformers wanted to find ways to "fix" prisoners, rather than just punishing them.

    In practice, I'm not sure any of those systems ever really worked well. But the ideas were influential in other countries.

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