Monday, July 25, 2011

Why Norway's worst mass killer will be given a jail sentence of only 21 years... and could be on weekend parole in seven - 24th July 2011

Norway's mass killer faces a maximum jail term of just 21 years. Astonishingly, that is the longest sentence available to judges in Norway's benevolent justice system.

In England and Wales, repeat killers can be told they will die behind bars with a 'whole life' tariff, and killers who use a knife or gun face minimum terms of 25 and 30 years.

But in Norway, few killers serve more than 14 years.

Even those given the maximum term can be released after two-thirds of their sentence, and many are given unsupervised weekend parole after just one third.

Only in exceptional cases, if officials consider a prisoner is still highly dangerous, will sentences be extended for additional five-year blocks.

Norway’s incarceration rates – the number of people jailed per head of population – are among the lowest in Europe. Some 66 are behind bars for every 100,000 citizens, less than half the figure for the UK.

The age of criminal responsibility is 15, compared with ten in England and Wales.

Lack of jail spaces means some offenders can wait weeks or even months before being locked up.

Many spend this time at home, often in the heart of the communities where they committed their crimes.In one notorious case, two boys who killed a five-year-old girl were back at school within two weeks. Read More