New guidelines to reduce jail times of criminal suspects
Sweden's criminal prosecutors will receive new guidelines for the detention of suspected criminals. Those guidelines come after years of criticism from the United Nations, of Sweden's judicial procedure which sometimes uncessarily places arrestees in extreme isolation.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority arrests around 9,500 people every year and two-thirds have restrictions on their custody. Detainees are sometimes kept in locked isolation 24 hours a day unable to take visitors, telephone calls or meet other prisoners.
The restrictions are often imposed when the suspect is first arrested so that they do not affect an ongoing investigation. But there have been cases when the detained have some isolation restrictions for several years.
The new guidelines, which go into effect April 1, will direct how prosecutors can work to limit the long detention times, for example, by limiting the amount of time for large investigations of the most serious crimes.
Prosecutor-General Anders Perklev told Swedish Radio News that he believes the new guidelines will decrease the use of jailing and isolation of suspects for investigations of less serious crimes like theft and fraud.