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Chapter III - Sweden

Elsevier Inc.
DOI: 10.1016/b978-1-59345-612-2.50007-3
  • Law
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science


Publisher Summary This chapter introduces the Swedish criminal justice system. It presents the major components of the system—the police, judiciary, law, corrections, and juvenile justice—along with an overview of the political system. It also outlines a brief history of some of the components of the system and describes the organization and administration and the various roles of the practitioners. Some of the critical issues facing the system are also assessed. Sweden is noted for being an exceptionally stable and industrially prosperous country. Part of that success is attributed to the government's ability to seek compromise and to reach a consensus that is beneficial to a large number of the citizenry. This process is illustrated by the manner in which the government and the Riksdag thoroughly analyze an issue that will have a significant long-term impact on the social system prior to enacting legislation. This style has important implications for the justice system, and the person who is given the greatest responsibility for directing those efforts is the minister of justice. This ministry is concerned with the criminal justice legislation, police, criminal procedure, criminal courts, prisons, and probation. Sweden's justice system has resolved a number of problems that are frequently raised in the United States, for example, the police have been consolidated into a number of efficient forces; there is a separate entry scheme for police commissioners and new recruits are exposed to a broad range of police work including criminal investigation. Judges and prosecutors are given special training for their responsibilities. The most significant contribution that the Swedes have made to criminal justice is the development of a humane and just sentencing philosophy.

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