Breivik sentence draws call for prison reforms

Anders_Behring_Breivik littleA Norwegian minister has called on the government to introduce life sentences in the Nordic country’s justice system.

Roger Ingebrigtsen, the deputy defence minister in Oslo, said that those convicted of acts of terrorism should be subjected to harsher penalties. The call came just days after Anders Behring Breivik was dealt a sentence 21 years in jail (less than four months for each of the 77 people killed) for the bombing and shooting rampage committed on 22 July 2011.

Norway’s prison system has gained international notoriety for being the most forgiving anywhere, with the 21-year term being the longest possible penalty for all offences except genocide and crimes against humanity, which can result in 30 years of jail time. The country’s philosophy also differs from many justice programs in that rehabilitation is the focus, rather than penalisation.

Mr Ingebrigtsen said on Monday that change is needed to protect civilians from incidents such as Breivik’s extremism-motivated attacks in central Oslo and Utoeya Island.

He said to the Nordlys news agency, “Terrorism was something distant and incomprehensible when the maximum time limit of 21 years was set. It is not the case today. Future terrorists should know that they risk imprisonment for serious crimes in Norway.”

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