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Livstidsstraffet - normalstraffet för mord? - En straffteoretisk analys av lagens strängaste straff.

Wiberg Hammar, Desirée LU (2018) JURM02 20181
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Varje år avlider i genomsnitt 100 personer i Sverige till följd av dödligt våld, däribland mord. På senare år har det höjts röster om att de som döms för mord många gånger döms till alltför lindriga straff, med hänsyn till att mord anses vara den mest klandervärda handling en människa kan begå. Följaktligen har lagstiftaren lagt fram ett förslag om att skärpa straffet för mord. I förarbetena framhålls att livstids fängelse i fortsättningen förväntas utgöra normalstraffet för mord ifall lagförslaget träder i kraft. Syftet med denna uppsats är att, utifrån ett straffteoretiskt perspektiv, undersöka om livstids fängelse bör utgöra normalpåföljden för mord. Genom att anlägga en rättspolitisk metod besvarar uppsatsen den huvudsakliga... (More)
Varje år avlider i genomsnitt 100 personer i Sverige till följd av dödligt våld, däribland mord. På senare år har det höjts röster om att de som döms för mord många gånger döms till alltför lindriga straff, med hänsyn till att mord anses vara den mest klandervärda handling en människa kan begå. Följaktligen har lagstiftaren lagt fram ett förslag om att skärpa straffet för mord. I förarbetena framhålls att livstids fängelse i fortsättningen förväntas utgöra normalstraffet för mord ifall lagförslaget träder i kraft. Syftet med denna uppsats är att, utifrån ett straffteoretiskt perspektiv, undersöka om livstids fängelse bör utgöra normalpåföljden för mord. Genom att anlägga en rättspolitisk metod besvarar uppsatsen den huvudsakliga frågeställningen, d.v.s. huruvida det nya lagförslaget är välgrundat utifrån ett straffteoretiskt perspektiv.

För att kunna ta ställning till huruvida förslaget är välgrundat är det nödvändigt att förstå vilket syfte bestraffningen har idag. Resultatet av undersökningen visar på att det inte är möjligt att tala om ett ideologiskt renodlat straffsystem. Emellertid kan det konstateras att de straffteorier som är mest centrala i det svenska straffsystemet idag är tankar om proportionalitet, behandling och humanitet. Förslaget om att skärpa straffet för mord bör därför särskilt undersökas i ljuset av dessa tre teorier.

Först och främst kan konstateras att lagstiftaren motiverat förslaget om att skärpa straffet för mord med påståendet att samhället fått en strängare syn på allvarliga våldsbrott. Vad som är anmärkningsvärt är att förarbetena inte hänvisar till någon forskning som ger stöd för detta påstående. Istället finns relativt nya forskningsresultat som visar på att det är problematiskt att använda det s.k. allmänna rättsmedvetandet för att motivera ändringar i lagstiftningen.

Om livstids fängelse blir normalstraffet för mord finns en risk att proportionalitetsprincipen hamnar i skymundan, då det blir svårt att åstadkomma en nyanserad straffmätning för mord. Enligt s.k. relativ proportionalitet ska nämligen brottens relativa svårighetsgrad återspeglas i straffsystemet.

Vidare kan det konstateras att livstidsstraffet som normalstraff för mord står i strid med behandlingstanken eftersom det inte finns någon mening med att försöka rehabilitera en brottsling som ska sitta inspärrad resten av sitt liv. Ett alternativ till lagstiftarens förslag skulle vara att återinföra internering, med inspiration från det danska förvaringsinstitutet. På så sätt skulle de brottslingar som bedöms vara farliga för samhället och som inte bedöms kunna bli rehabiliterade hållas inspärrade på obegränsad tid, medan de brottslingar som kan rehabiliteras istället får ett tidsbestämt straff.

Vad gäller humanitetsprincipen kan även den sägas stå i strid med lagstiftarens förslag om att skärpa straffet för mord. Ett vanligt argument i debatten om livstidsstraffet är att dess tidsobestämda karaktär är inhuman eftersom den intagne inte vet hur långt straffet ska bli.

Utifrån en sammantagen bedömning är min slutsats att förslaget om att livstids fängelse ska utgöra normalstraffet för mord inte är välgrundat, med hänsyn till de straffteorier som är mest centrala i det svenska straffsystemet. (Less)
Abstract
About 100 people die each year in Sweden due to deadly violence such as murder. During recent years some people have claimed that the punishment for murder is not strict enough, considering the fact that taking a life is the most heinous crime that one can commit. Consequently, the Swedish legislator has suggested that the penalty for murder shall become stricter by making life imprisonment the standard sentence for this crime. The purpose of this essay is to examine whether or not life imprisonment should be the standard sentence for murder. The purpose will be obtained by analyzing the current legislative proposal from a criminal theory perspective.

In order to decide whether or not the legislative proposal is well-grounded, it is... (More)
About 100 people die each year in Sweden due to deadly violence such as murder. During recent years some people have claimed that the punishment for murder is not strict enough, considering the fact that taking a life is the most heinous crime that one can commit. Consequently, the Swedish legislator has suggested that the penalty for murder shall become stricter by making life imprisonment the standard sentence for this crime. The purpose of this essay is to examine whether or not life imprisonment should be the standard sentence for murder. The purpose will be obtained by analyzing the current legislative proposal from a criminal theory perspective.

In order to decide whether or not the legislative proposal is well-grounded, it is necessary to understand what purpose the penalty is supposed to fulfill. The results of the study show that it is not possible to claim that the penalty system is influenced solely by a single criminal theory. However, the study shows that three criminal theories are essential for the Swedish penalty system. These three theories include the principle of proportionality, rehabilitation of the criminal and the principle of humanity. The legislative proposal must therefore be examined in the light of these theories.

First and foremost, a conclusion that can be drawn is that the legislator has justified the legislative proposal claiming that society nowadays is less tolerant when it comes to criminal violence, such as murder. It is, however, remarkable that the legislator does not refer to any research results to support this statement. On the contrary, there are relatively new research results stating that it is problematic to use “general legal awareness” as an argument for changing the law.

If life imprisonment becomes the standard sentence for murder, there is a risk that the principle of proportionality becomes undermined. To clarify, making life imprisonment the standard sentence for murder will make it more difficult to achieve nuanced sentences for this crime. This is problematic because, according to so-called relative proportionality, the relative severity of different cases of murder must be reflected in the penalty system.

Furthermore, it can be stated that making life imprisonment the standard sentence for murder is contradictory to the goal of rehabilitating the criminal, in order for him or her to become a better member of society in the future. In other words, there is no point in trying to rehabilitate a criminal who is going to spend the rest of their life in prison. With the Danish penalty system in mind, an alternative would be to reintroduce the so-called interment institution to the Swedish penalty system. Thus, criminals who are believed to be dangerous to society and who are not likely to become rehabilitated, can be incarcerated. At the same time, other criminals who are likely to become rehabilitated, can instead be subjected to a time-limited imprisonment.

Regarding the principle of humanity, it can also be said that making life imprisonment the standard sentence for murder is contrary to the wish of maintaining a humane penalty system. A common argument in the debate about life imprisonment is that the punishment is inhumane, due to the fact that the punishment is not time-limited. The punishment is said to be inhumane since the inmate does not know how many years he or she will be incarcerated.

Based on an overall assessment, my conclusion is that the legislative proposal that suggests that life imprisonment shall become the standard sentence for murder is not well-founded, considering which criminal theories the Swedish penalty system relies upon. (Less)
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author
Wiberg Hammar, Desirée LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Life imprisonment - the standard sentence for murder? - A criminal theory analysis of the strictest penalty of the law
course
JURM02 20181
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Straffrätt, Criminal law, Livstids fängelse, Life imprisonment, Straffteorier, Criminal theories, Mord, Murder
language
Swedish
id
8940793
date added to LUP
2018-06-08 14:27:47
date last changed
2018-06-08 14:27:47
@misc{8940793,
  abstract     = {About 100 people die each year in Sweden due to deadly violence such as murder. During recent years some people have claimed that the punishment for murder is not strict enough, considering the fact that taking a life is the most heinous crime that one can commit. Consequently, the Swedish legislator has suggested that the penalty for murder shall become stricter by making life imprisonment the standard sentence for this crime. The purpose of this essay is to examine whether or not life imprisonment should be the standard sentence for murder. The purpose will be obtained by analyzing the current legislative proposal from a criminal theory perspective.

In order to decide whether or not the legislative proposal is well-grounded, it is necessary to understand what purpose the penalty is supposed to fulfill. The results of the study show that it is not possible to claim that the penalty system is influenced solely by a single criminal theory. However, the study shows that three criminal theories are essential for the Swedish penalty system. These three theories include the principle of proportionality, rehabilitation of the criminal and the principle of humanity. The legislative proposal must therefore be examined in the light of these theories. 

First and foremost, a conclusion that can be drawn is that the legislator has justified the legislative proposal claiming that society nowadays is less tolerant when it comes to criminal violence, such as murder. It is, however, remarkable that the legislator does not refer to any research results to support this statement. On the contrary, there are relatively new research results stating that it is problematic to use “general legal awareness” as an argument for changing the law. 

If life imprisonment becomes the standard sentence for murder, there is a risk that the principle of proportionality becomes undermined. To clarify, making life imprisonment the standard sentence for murder will make it more difficult to achieve nuanced sentences for this crime. This is problematic because, according to so-called relative proportionality, the relative severity of different cases of murder must be reflected in the penalty system. 

Furthermore, it can be stated that making life imprisonment the standard sentence for murder is contradictory to the goal of rehabilitating the criminal, in order for him or her to become a better member of society in the future. In other words, there is no point in trying to rehabilitate a criminal who is going to spend the rest of their life in prison. With the Danish penalty system in mind, an alternative would be to reintroduce the so-called interment institution to the Swedish penalty system. Thus, criminals who are believed to be dangerous to society and who are not likely to become rehabilitated, can be incarcerated. At the same time, other criminals who are likely to become rehabilitated, can instead be subjected to a time-limited imprisonment. 

Regarding the principle of humanity, it can also be said that making life imprisonment the standard sentence for murder is contrary to the wish of maintaining a humane penalty system. A common argument in the debate about life imprisonment is that the punishment is inhumane, due to the fact that the punishment is not time-limited. The punishment is said to be inhumane since the inmate does not know how many years he or she will be incarcerated. 

Based on an overall assessment, my conclusion is that the legislative proposal that suggests that life imprisonment shall become the standard sentence for murder is not well-founded, considering which criminal theories the Swedish penalty system relies upon.},
  author       = {Wiberg Hammar, Desirée},
  keyword      = {Straffrätt,Criminal law,Livstids fängelse,Life imprisonment,Straffteorier,Criminal theories,Mord,Murder},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Livstidsstraffet - normalstraffet för mord? - En straffteoretisk analys av lagens strängaste straff.},
  year         = {2018},
}