2015 - 102. årgang Nr. 1
1. Flemming Balvig
Crime and the Public Sense of Justice - in Greenland.
A study toward public reactions to crime and victimization of crime has been carried out in Greenland. The methodological concept and the design of the study were based on earlier studies made in Denmark in 2006 and 2009, and because of this several comparisons can be made with Denmark. The attitudes were analyzed by using three different methods on representative samples of the population in Greenland. In the first study, the general or spontaneous sense of justice was measured by short questions in telephone interviews. The informed sense of justice was examined by presenting vignettes of six cases in a postal survey. The concrete sense of justice was studied through focus groups proposing reactions after having seen a mock trial of a crime case and having discussed the case in the group. The results from the different studies of attitudes towards crime and reactions to crime were finally compared to the actual reactions according to assessments from the courts and the police in Greenland. Considering that Greenland has a rather special criminal law, which put more emphasis on rehabilitation than is usual seen – and even more so if you go back in time – a major question and special for the study in Greenland, has been how the people view, what should be the guiding principle for public reactions to crime: Special prevention or repression?
2. Matti Laine
Russia and Criminal Policy in Finland.
Finland was a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire from 1809 to 1917. Some scholars (e.g., Nils Christie) have proposed that the very severe criminal policies that prevailed in Finland during most of the 20th century were the result of Russian influence. Historical facts don’t support this. Finland had a large autonomy and could maintain the Swedish legislation of 1734 and 1772. Finland was never ”a Russian country”. The de facto abolition of the death penalty in 1826 might be the only reform influenced by Russia. Other reforms and ideas came from Germany and Sweden. Finnish research has found two main reasons for the severe criminal policy. Finland remained very late as an agrarian country, much later than other Nordic countries, and when its modernization began, the criminal policy moved closer to other countries. The bitter civil war of 1918 and its aftermath have also had some influence.
2015 - 102. årgang Nr. 2
1. Linda Gröning
Sanity and Insanity: Concepts and Rules
As in many other countries, the Norwegian criminal law requires sanity at the time of the offense as a condition for criminal responsibility. In the legal discourse, sanity is conceived as a capability for guilt – “skyldevne” – which amounts to capacity for criminal responsibility or criminal capacity. Yet the rules of the criminal law do not define or even mention sanity. They do, however, provide criteria for the conditions that negate sanity, thus implying insanity. According to Section 44 of the Norwegian Criminal Code, a person who was psychotic, unconscious or highly mentally retarded at the time of the offense cannot be held liable for a penalty. The current article focuses on mental disorder as a condition for excuse. The ambition of the article is to explain the meaning and justifications of sanity as a condition for criminal responsibility. More specifically, it aims to create a clarification of the concepts of sanity and insanity as they are constructed in the criminal law and its doctrines on responsibility. As the title suggests, the article also focuses on the relation between concepts and rules. After clarifying the meaning of legal insanity, the article discusses the content of the current regulation in the criminal code and possible alternatives to it.
2. Per Ole Träskman
Crime and Crime Control in Finland and the Other Nordic Countries: Forerunners or Stragglers?
The Finnish Society for Criminal Law and Criminology (Kriminalistföreningen i Finland) was established 1934. A jubilee seminar was arranged in Helsinki in April 2015 to celebrate the fact that 80 years have passed since its establishment. The current article is an elaborated version of the paper the author presented at the seminar. The article examines the development of criminal law and policy in Finland and the Nordic countries more generally from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. This period is divided in several shorter units: the initial decades of the 20th century; the 1930s; the wartime years of 1939-1945; the post-war period to the 1950s; the emergence of Nordic concordance and the time of Nordic prosperity until the end of 1990s (a period which gave rise to the internationally-recognized concept of “Nordic exceptionalism”); the period of increasing criminal repression during the first decade of the 21st century; and finally the period of decreasing incarceration which began in 2005. The article focuses on an assessment of how progressive the Nordic criminal and control policies can be considered in an international context. Have the Nordic states been forerunners or stragglers? The answer remains unclear or, maybe, “both and”, with different answers during different historical periods.
3. Berit Johnsen og Hans Jørgen Engbo
Preventive Detention in Norway, Denmark and Greenland: Similarities and Dissimilarities
A comparative study of preventive detention in Norway, Denmark and Greenland reveals both similarities and dissimilarities in the organisation of this criminal sanction. By examining legislation and practice and interpreting this in relation to the overall context of criminal justice, the paper seeks to identify similarities and dissimilarities in the three countries. The study shows that the legal circumstances required for a sentence of preventive detention are similar in all three nations. Nonetheless, there are considerable differences in the extent to which preventive detention is used. These differences reflect differences in the status the sanction holds in each country. While the type of crimes that lead to preventive detention are quite similar, there are substantial differences in how long offenders are kept in preventive detention and how the process towards release is organised. While the arrangement of preventive detention in Denmark and Greenland is quite easily adjustable to the prevailing sense of public justice, the Norwegian arrangement seems to put more weight on ensuring the legal protection of offenders. The context of interpretation is decisive for what is considered advantageous or not in the organisation of preventive detention in the three countries.
4. Gunnar Vold Hansen
New requirements for program operations as a result of Positive Criminology.
This article considers whether one should think differently about how to develop and approve correctional programs. The question arises out of an evaluation of the RUS Program, which was designed for the Norwegian Correctional Service. The evaluation indicates that program participants place greater emphasis on the internal processes in the group than they do on the program’s different components. Unfortunately, there is no follow-up data to ensure that these processes can be maintained after program implementation. The Norwegian Correctional Service emphasizes theories rooted in the collective term Positive Criminology (e.g., desistance and restorative justice). In connection with their increased focus on Positive Criminology, I conclude that the process of program development and approval should place greater emphasis on how participants can be followed up after program implementation.
2015 - 102. årgang Nr. 3
1. Louise Victoria Johansen og Annette Esdorf
Pre-sentence reports between research and practice: Possibilities for collaboration
This article describes collaboration between researchers and the Danish Department of Prisons and Probation in regard to the production and use of pre-sentence reports. It highlights ways in which the conclusions reached in a recent PhD thesis have contributed to an understanding of the legal frameworks and practices of both the Prosecution Service and the Probation Service. Until now, pre-sentence reports were requested for different reasons in different police districts. This led to broad discrepancies in the number and types of cases for which reports were issued. Local probation officers have also had different standards and practices for issuing reports. This situation affects the quality of the reports produced. The legal frameworks and practices of the Prosecution Service and the Probation Service have been revised at least partly on the basis of the PhD project’s conclusions. The current article is written as a dialogue between the research and its application by the Department of Prisons and Probation. It concludes by discussing the advantages of applying research and considering the different agendas of research and practice.
2. Minna Kimpimäki
Humanitarian activity or organized crime? The arrangement of illegal migration in Finland
When the arrangement of illegal migration was first criminalized in Finland in 1993, neither illegal migration not its arrangement were considered problems in practice. However, legislation has since proven necessary. The nature and extent of the cases up to now vary tremendously, as do the motives behind them. Some instances concern a single person being brought into Finland while others involve elaborate arrangements orchestrated by international criminal organizations. According to the Finnish Criminal Code, an act is not considered an arrangement of illegal migration if the person brought into Finland is truly in need of international protection and the person arranging the immigrant’s illegal entry is acting with humanitarian motives or has familial ties to the immigrant. Situations where the person organizing illegal migration does so for profit or acts as part of an organized criminal group are not considered acceptable. The arrangement of illegal migration can therefore sometimes be considered a ruthless abuse of persons in need and at other times be seen as humanitarian activity to help people seeking safety and a better future.
3. Raimo Lahti
Criminal law in the 2020s: From Cesare Beccaria’s “On Crimes and Punishments” (1764) to the internationalization and Europeanization of criminal justice
This article provides a fragmentary overview of the developments of criminal law and criminal policy in Finland during the last 150 years. It reflects the author’s experiences as a criminal scientist and an expert in drafting criminal legislation over 48 years. This review uses the conclusions from Cesare Beccaria’s classic, 250-year-old book as its starting point: that a punishment may not be an act of violence; that it should be public, immediate, necessary, as minimal as the case allows, proportional to the crime and determined by the law. The Finnish Penal Code of 1889 was originally thoroughly permeated by both the principles and the spirit of the Classical School of penal law wherein punishment was primarily regarded as retribution for the offence and the penal system was therefore tolerably harmonious with the demands of general deterrence. More weight was given to individual prevention when the Code was first drafted. Later on, the influence of the sociological school of penal law, which focused on the offender and individualized criminal sanctions, led to partial reforms of the penal system, e.g., enactment of the Conditional Sentences Act of 1918, the Dangerous Recidivists Act of 1932 and Young Offenders Act of 1940. The total reform of the Penal Code between 1972 and 2003 aimed to create a more rational penal system, i.e. one designed for efficient, just and humane criminal justice. An ambitious attempt was made in as uniform and systematic a way as possible to assess the goals, interests and values that the new Criminal Code should promote and protect. The existence of the criminal justice system was defended on utilitarian grounds. The structure and operation of the penal system cannot, however, be founded solely on the basis of utility. The criteria of justice and humaneness must also be applied. The penal system must be rational in regard to both its goals (utility) and its values (justice; humaneness). Developments since the 1990s are characterized by the influence of human rights and basic rights on both criminal and procedural law, as well as by the effects of the internationalization and Europeanization of the criminal justice system. These latter-mentioned tendencies have resulted in the diversification of some parts of the criminal law and an increased pluralism of general legal doctrines. Criminal scientists in Finland and the rest of Scandinavia should strive more actively to influence both European and global criminal policy in the direction of the ‘Nordic model’ – which emphasizes crime prevention, applies specific rational criteria such as legitimacy and humaneness, and plays down repression in criminal sanctions.
4. Leif Petter Olaussen
Prisonization: An unconfirmed "iron-law" of social life in prisons.
Norwegian sociology of law and criminology have asserted for decades that imprisonment leads to prisonization, i.e., that prison conditions create a normative climate in prisons that is detrimental to resocialization and may even increase the probability of recidivism. Whether this is true is an important scientific and political question. The current review, designed to corroborate the prisonization hypothesis, ultimately fails to support it.