Crime and Capital Punishment
Fisher also points out that the death penalty is banned in Norway, as it is in most of the developed world (excluding the U.S.). The American justice system focuses on “retribution, which is popular but not effective,” with more than half of U.S. convicts ending up back in jail within two years. Capital punishment is popular in U.S. opinion polls but, says Fisher, “expensive and ineffective at deterring crime.”
With all this said, idealizing the Norwegian justice system and society certainly carries its own hazards. Two days after the massacre, Norway’s prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg said at a memorial service for the victims that “Our response is more democracy, more openness, and more humanity.” John Olav Egeland, a columnist and former editor of the newspaper Dagbladet, says in the Guardian that “There have been, as far as I can see, no political suggestions on how to expand ‘democracy, openness, and humanity’,” but rather “‘more security and more safety’” in the form of barricades around some government buildings and 200 additional police officers — a crackdown, though minimal in relation to how other governments might response.
Should a mass murderer like Breivik be given the legal treatment and platform that Norway has allotted him? Could allowing a right-wing extremist to speak so freely really be an antidote to the spread of xenophobia, Islamophobia and hate?
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