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Swedish System of Sanctions

NCJ Number
Date Published
7 pages
The sanctions of the Swedish Penal Code, which came into force on January 1, 1965, are described.
The Penal Code contains three major sections--one section comprised of general rules, a second consisting primarily of descriptions of offenses, and a third containing sanctions. Sanctions are divided into the following groups: general punishments (fines and imprisonments); disciplinary punishments (for members of the armed forces, confinement to barracks and disciplinary fines); and conditional sentences, probation, internment, and commitment for special care. The three types of fines are day fines, monetary fines, and standardized fines. Day fines are used the most. The monetary value of the day fine varies according to the economic circumstances of the convicted person, from 2 to 500 Swedish kroner (about $.50 to $110.00). Imprisonment is imposed for a specified term, at least 1 month and at the most 10 years (this limit may be exceeded in the case of consecutive punishments for more than one offense), or for life. A person serving a specified term of imprisonment may be released on parole after serving two-thirds of the term, or, in special cases, half the term. Conditional sentences are mainly intended to be imposed on persons who commit a crime which is clearly out of character and whose prognosis for committing no further offenses is good. A trial period of 2 years is provided during which a sanction will not be applied so long as no other offense is committed. Probation can be ordered for offenses punishable by imprisonment. Internment is a sanction involving deprivation of liberty for a period not determined in advance, which may be imposed when a defendant has committed offenses punishable by imprisonment for 2 years or more. This sanction is intended for recidivists who cannot be deterred from continued serious criminal activity by any less radical measure. Commitment for special care and application of sanctions to youthful offenders are also discussed.


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