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Breivik Kills 77 People, Gets 21 Years in Prison

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Anders Breivik, the racist and extremist who murdered 77 people in Norway last year, was sentenced to a mere 21 years in prison. This is because Norway's criminal justice system focuses more on "rehabilitation than retribution," according to the New York Times. And prison, by Norwegian standards, is quite different from what most people probably have in mind. According to the article:

Mr. Breivik, lawyers say, will live in a prison outside Oslo in a three-cell suite of rooms equipped with exercise equipment, a television and a laptop, albeit one without Internet access. If he is not considered a threat after serving his sentence, the maximum available under Norwegian law, he will be eligible for release in 2033...

Of course, he most likely will be considered a threat, since he went on racist ramblings during court proceedings and even mentioned beheading an ex-Prime Minister. Because of this, his "maximum" 21-year sentence can be extended:

[H]owever lenient the sentence seems, Mr. Breivik is unlikely ever to be released from prison. He could be kept there indefinitely by judges adding a succession of five-year extensions to his sentence.

That's sort of comforting. But, what if, in the future, he faces a panel of judges who decide to let him go? For a crime of this magnitude, that simply should not be a possibility. Norway would be wise to reconsider some aspects of its rehabilitative approach to criminal justice. Some members of our society are simply beyond rehabilitation.

(AP Photo)