Kristina Jerre, Brottsförebyggande rådet
Ska strängare straff dömas ut vid återfall? Allmänhetens inställning till återfallsstraff enligt en nationell vinjettstudie
The principle of punishing repeat offenders more severely is pretty much universal. A recurring justification in the public debate for this principle is that the 'public sentiment' demands harsher punishments for recidivists. In this study survey participants are asked to propose appropriate sanctions for five different criminal cases described in vignettes. The offender in each case is described as either having or not having previous convictions. There is little difference in the sanctions given to previously convicted and non-convicted offenders. According to the results, 'public sentiment' does not come across as sufficiently homogenous, on it's own, to legitimize a system where repeat offenders are systematically and consistently punished more severely than offenders with no previous convictions. If we are to justify enhanced punishments for repeat offenders, we should seek a more solid basis for doing so than simply relying on routine referrals to public opinion.
Reference: Nordisk Tidsskrift for Kriminalvidenskab. Maj 2016. 103. årgang, nr. 1., s. 78-95.