August 24, 2012
A Different Justice: Why Anders Breivik Only Got 21 Years for Killing 77 People

As an American, or maybe just as a moral human being, it’s hard not to feel appalled, even outraged, that Norwegian far-right monster Anders Breivik only received 21 years in prison for his attacks last year, including a bombing in Oslo and a cold-blooded shooting spree, which claimed 77 lives. That’s just under 100 days per murder. The decision, reached by the court’s five-member panel, was unanimous. He will serve out his years (which can be extended) in a three-room cell with a TV, exercise room, and “Ikea-style furniture.” The New York Times quoted a handful of survivors and victims’ relatives expressing relief and satisfaction at the verdict. It’s not a scientific survey, but it’s still jarring to see Norwegians welcoming this light sentence.
Norway’s criminal justice system is, obviously, quite distinct from that of, say, the U.S.; 21 years is the maximum sentence for anything less severe than war crimes or genocide. Still, it’s more than that: the entire philosophy underpinning that system is radically different. I don’t have an answer for which system is better. I doubt anyone does. But Americans’ shocked response to the Breivik sentence hints at not just how different the two systems are, but how deeply we may have come to internalize our understanding of justice, which, whatever its merits, doesn’t seem to be as universal as we might think.

Read more. [Image: AP]

A Different Justice: Why Anders Breivik Only Got 21 Years for Killing 77 People

As an American, or maybe just as a moral human being, it’s hard not to feel appalled, even outraged, that Norwegian far-right monster Anders Breivik only received 21 years in prison for his attacks last year, including a bombing in Oslo and a cold-blooded shooting spree, which claimed 77 lives. That’s just under 100 days per murder. The decision, reached by the court’s five-member panel, was unanimous. He will serve out his years (which can be extended) in a three-room cell with a TV, exercise room, and “Ikea-style furniture.” The New York Times quoted a handful of survivors and victims’ relatives expressing relief and satisfaction at the verdict. It’s not a scientific survey, but it’s still jarring to see Norwegians welcoming this light sentence.

Norway’s criminal justice system is, obviously, quite distinct from that of, say, the U.S.; 21 years is the maximum sentence for anything less severe than war crimes or genocide. Still, it’s more than that: the entire philosophy underpinning that system is radically different. I don’t have an answer for which system is better. I doubt anyone does. But Americans’ shocked response to the Breivik sentence hints at not just how different the two systems are, but how deeply we may have come to internalize our understanding of justice, which, whatever its merits, doesn’t seem to be as universal as we might think.

Read more. [Image: AP]

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    Here’s that link that I said I would reblog.
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    I would couple the reading of this article with Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish.
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  14. prologue-to-history reblogged this from walterwhite-pizzaparty and added:
    Wow, reading this article linked in the article above, the American system sounds utterly horrifying (but that isn’t...
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  17. jdbfanclub reblogged this from jjarichardson and added:
    People commenting on our justice system should know more about it, the fact is that he’s never coming out again, he’s...
  18. jjarichardson reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Norway’s social democratic economic system (providing universal education and healthcare, effectively preventing poverty...
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    Are you fucking kidding me? I thought The Atlantic was a well-respected publication in the U.S. Do some bare minimum of...
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    ,
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