Criminology in Sweden
Sweden and the United States hold many cultural differences: gastronomical, political, demographical, religious, criminal law, prison sentences and crime prevention among more. While the United States has a population of roughly 312 million people and Sweden only having about 10 million it is difficult to compare the two countries and their belief systems.
While the general definition of social control may be the same in both countries, how they act on it is a bit different. Social control is the control of society over individuals and it denotes some kind of influence which may be exercised in various ways by means of public opinion, coercion, religion, “crime” prevention etc. It is a concept as old as human society and the influence of social control is exercised for promoting the welfare of all the individuals or the group as a whole. It is an essential condition of the human society. The influence of social control is universal. Where there is society, there is social control, not just in the U.S and Sweden but all around the world. The control theory states that the absence of control makes crime more possible but does not make it more certain and that we all have antisocial tendencies but only some of us act upon it. There are a few reasons that make us second guess about what we are going to do, those being:
-Attachment which is a prerequisite for caring about the opinions of other people.
-Commitment being the investment of time and energy on school, a business etc. The more you invest the less you want to risk losing it. Socially successful people are less prone to engage in criminal behavior.
-Involvement: Keeping yourself occupied makes you too engrossed to do antisocial acts; if you keep people busy with activities they are less likely to do things that may influence the society in a negative way.
-Believing in the rules makes people abide by them, you have to make sure people believe in the laws.
Punishment is not the focus of criminal policy in Sweden, the main goal of the crime control system is general prevention. There are plenty of instances in your life where you may not act in the most socially acceptable way but that does not mean that you are a criminal or a bad person. What makes you a criminal is the law stating that doing a certain “illegal” thing is socially unacceptable and you have to take responsibility for those actions. Taking responsibility usually includes paying a fine towards the state or a prison sentence.
Prison sentences in the USA and Sweden are very different kinds of punishment. In Sweden, rehabilitation is a key part in the prison sentence and the comparison of lifers from Sweden to the USA is very large. There has been a bit of a large increase in the amount of lifers in Sweden, it went from in 1983 from about 15 to about 160 in 2012 but the odd thing is that homicide has decreased. The average prison sentence length in Sweden is about 9 Months when in the USA they are much longer. The minimum amount of years that you had to do when being a “lifer” used to be about 8 years but since then it has doubled, while in the USA it went from 21.2 years in 1991 to 29 years by 1997 and the average life sentence today results in nearly three decades incarceration. The United States of America is spending enormous amounts of money on “lifers” because a lot of them won’t even be alive to get parole so they will and do need serious healthcare because the older that they get the more natural health problems they have and the more medication they need. The US is number one in the world in the rate of incarceration of its citizens, with 702 out of every 100,000 people incarcerated in state and federal prisons or in jails across the nation. More than 2 million people are now in prison or jail in the US and the numbers keep rising. In Sweden if an inmate is still considered dangerous after finishing their sentence they may have to be forced to medical