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Sentencing Theory, Policy, and Research in the Nordic Countries (From Crime and Justice in Scandinavia, P 349-404, 2011, Michael Tonry and Tapio Lappi-Seppala, eds. - See NCJ-242441)

NCJ Number
Ville Hinkkanen; Tapio Lappi-Seppala
Date Published
56 pages
This essay discusses sentencing in the Nordic countries.
Sentencing in the Nordic countries follows the civil law tradition. Sentencing councils and advisory boards have no role, as the guidance for the courts is given mainly in the form of legislative sentencing principles and court precedents. Legislative sentencing guidance has undergone changes both in form and substance. The 1970s decline of the rehabilitative ideal was mirrored in sentencing reforms that emphasize proportionality and predictability in sentencing. This was the case especially in Finland and Sweden. But unlike in many other countries, these ideological changes did not result in increased severity; for Finland, the result was the opposite. While the Nordic legislators have shown increased interest in more detailed guidance on sentencing, courts are still left with a wide range of sentencing options and fairly broad penal latitudes. At the same time, the sentencing systems place high value in consistency and uniformity in sentencing. To reconcile these aims, further devices are needed for the structuring of the sentencing decision, including legal-theoretical analyses and empirical research. The paper discusses the latter point in more detail with more recent research examples from Finland. (Published Abstract)