Sweden closes 4 prisons, not enough prisoners

Various global headlines over the years have made Swedish prisons famous for their almost-gentle, humanitarian approach to punishment, and it could be that those efforts are paying off.

The head of Sweden’s prison operations Nils Oberg announced that 4 Swedish prisons would be closing due to a 6% drop in the prisoner population.

Sweden’s jailtime policies seem relaxed almost to the point of fantasy from an American perspective. The maximum sentence for even the worst offenders are rarely more than ten years, and whenever possible the Swedish justice system attempts to use non-prison rehabilitation methods rather than jail time.

Post prison rehabilitation is also a lot stronger in Sweden. Unlike the US, the Swedish government offers a supervised transition back into society for ex-cons and guarantees treatment for those suffering from drug addictions or mental health problems.

The programs and situation sharply contrast the US, where decades-long sentences are handed out for non-violent crimes regularly and prisons are at 39% over capacity as of 2011.

Amanda Knox Interview, Book to go on as Planned

Despite the recent Italian court ruling striking down the acquittal of an American college student, plans for Amanda Knox’s memoir and an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer will go forward.

“Waiting to Be Heard,” the memoir of Knox caught up in her roommate’s murder investigation will be released on April 30, 2013.

“As planned, HarperCollins will publish Amanda Knox’s book… and will move forward with the interviews that we have scheduled,” said HarperCollins spokesperson Tina Andreadis.

According to reports, an ABC spokesman confirmed the interview hasn’t been recorded yet and is still scheduled to air on a special primetime broadcast on April 30.

It’s believed that Italian prosecutors won’t be able to force Knox to return to Italy to be retried in the murder of her roommate.

Legal analyst Kendall Coffey says, “Of course, [they’re] going to demand that she return,’’ Coffey, told Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’

“[But] extradition is a time consuming process. It requires facilitation by the State Department and then you have a judicial right in the federal courts to fight extradition.”

Coffey said that under U.S. law, trying Knox again for the same crime would be considered double jeopardy.

Knox, from the Seattle area, moved to Perugia, Italy for a study-abroad program in 2007. Her British roommate Meredith Kercher was found murdered in their small bungalow.

Police charged Knox, her new boyfriend Rafaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast resident living in the city, with the murder. Knox and Sollecito’s conviction was overturned on appeal in October 2011, when their lawyers raised questions about the handling of the evidence, and the pair were freed. Guede remains in jail.