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The Norwegian 21-Year Sentence
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July 24, 2011, 03:59 PM
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Norway has a maximum sentence of 21 years for any crime, and no death penalty, of course. All the Scandinavian countries abolished the death penalty, because they were homogenous white countries where murder was very rare. Americans reading about the Norwegian Horror are starting to protest this. Norwegian journalist Lene Johanson tweets

  • Oh oh, the Americans are starting to figure out that Norway’s maximum sentence is 21 years. They are outraged. Keep explaining “forvaring”

I looked it up, and it means that a murderer continuing to be dangerous can continue to be locked up, by administrative review. Google Translate of Wikipedia (as of yesterday) says

Custody [forvaring]

Containment is one of the penalties in the Norwegian legal system. Preventive detention can lead to imprisonment for life, because the original sentence can be extended for an indefinite number of times. Offenders that a court deemed sane, can be sentenced to custody if there is great danger that the offender might repeat the crime or considered a danger to society.

Frankly, neither the fact that Norway’s has a maximum sentence of 21 years for any crime, nor the fact that someone considered dangerous can be locked up forever by bureaucratic process, impresses me with Norway’s justice system.  However, it was a small homogenous country, and for many years having a justice system like this wasn’t a problem.