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Fixed term Sentence for Östberg?

Published tisdag 25 augusti 2009 kl 16.38
Hinseberg Correctional Facility, where Östberg is serving her sentence.

The chances of one of Sweden's most well known prisoners, Annika Östberg, having her sentence changed from life to fixed term, have improved significantly since the Swedish Prison and Probation service recently issued their approval.

Östberg spent half her life in jail in America, serving a life sentence for her part in two murders, including that of a policeman, which were carried out in California in the early eighties. In April, after many years’ campaign, she was transferred to a Swedish prison.

Östberg has shown good behaviour during her many years in US prison, and since being transferred to a Swedish correctional facility she has continued the same way. The Prison and Probation Service sees no reason to deny her request for a fixed term sentence.

“She has adapted very well to the Swedish system”, said the head of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service, Lars Nylén to Swedish news agency TT.

However, as Östberg has spent the last 28 years in prison it will take several probations over the course of one year before she is successfully transferred back into society. Nylén was not prepared to disclose whether this has been initialised yet. Neither could he answer how long it will be before Östberg will be freed.

It is not until the district court has concluded what fixed term sentence Östberg should serve that it is possible to calculate when she will be released. According to Swedish practice, a convict can appeal to be released after serving 2/3 of the sentence.

“If the district court rules that the sentence is 30 years, she would be free in 20 – but then she has already served 28 years. So that would make it eight years too many. The situation is completely unique for Sweden,” said Lars Nylén.

The appeal will be tried by the Örebro district court later in the autumn.

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