Saturday, August 11, 2007

Keystone Kops

Europeans like to think of themselves as progressive, having transcended their brutal history and, indeed, of having surpassed us heathen colonials on this side of the Atlantic. Well, maybe they've transcended their history a little too much. In Norway, one in five convicted criminals don't bother to show up to serve their time.
20 percent of convicted criminals do not show up for their prison terms, according to the Norwegian Correctional Services. Prison authorities can do little but hope that the criminals will eventually come knocking on the prison door.

[ ... ]

Criminals sentenced to long prison terms are particularly prone to bunking off. [Gee, d'ya think? --ed.] Almost every fourth person sentenced to six months or more in prison failed to meet in 2006. The situation is only becoming graver, with a total a [sic] 1799 people failing to show up during the whole of last year, compared to as many as 1068 people so far this year.

"It’s difficult to make plans for the prison terms when we have no idea who will show up and who won't," said Ellinor Houm, director of the Norwegian Correctional Services, section for eastern Norway.

[ ... ]

The dilemma facing the prison authorities is that failure to show up at prison is not yet illegal. Although Parliament has passed new legislation making it a criminal offence to skip prison, the law has not yet been implemented and until it is, prison authorities can do nothing but hope that the criminals will eventually show up at the prison gates.

"Some people just don't get that it's better to get the sentence over and done with as soon as possible," said Houm.
Better to get it over and done with? Yeah, right...not when it's perfectly legal to not serve the time at all.

No comments: