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Criminal Law, Crime and Punishment in Norway: A Brief Sketch (From UNAFEI Material Produced During the 71st International Seminar and the 72nd International Training Course, P 142-152, 1986 -- See NCJ-106500)

NCJ Number
H Rostad
Date Published
11 pages
The rate of crime has increased in Norway over the last 25 years, but the nation is characterized by a low crime rate and inmate population and extensive use of alternatives to incarceration.
The Criminal Code that dates in large part from 1902 has set the age of criminal liability at 14 years, provides for suspended sentences, and does not allow capital punishment or life imprisonment. Criminal procedure rests on a 1981 law. It uses the adversarial system, but includes elements of the inquisitorial system. The small size and homogeneity of the population has resulted in a low level of criminality. The types and uses of punishments reflect in part the views of international bodies like the Council of Europe, which adopted a Resolution on Alternatives to Imprisonment in 1976. Alternatives outlined at a 1985 conference include weekend detention and work release, financial penalties, probation, community service, waiver of prosecution, and suspended or conditional sentences. Norway tends to be lenient in the imposition of penalties. Imprisonment is generally for short terms. Semidetention and work release are widely used. Some offenders serve their sentences in institutions like health care facilities, if their health or other factors require it. Parole is an integral part of a prison sentence. Data tables and 11 notes.