In virtually every human society, the issue of crime is invariably resolved by “getting tougher with criminals” on the assumption that longer sentences will somehow reduce crime. Of course, there is absolutely no evidence such an approach works, as witness the 2.3 million people in American jails. However, a new report from a Swedish government commission, comes out strongly for tougher and longer punishments for violent crimes and cracking down on those who have been released only to commit further crimes. Justice Minister, Beatrice Ask, agreed with the commission by saying, “I think the suggestions are very much in line with the Alliance Government’s ambitions and the directives we gave to the investigator.”
Minister Ask wants the punishment handed down on criminals to be “proportional to the severity of the crime.” The United States has been vigorously using this approach and the result is every increasing crime. Cries for getting tough with criminals play to the gallery of public opinion but have scant relation to the reality of how to reduce crime.