Imprisonment should not be seen as an effective crime prevention measure in Swedish criminal policy.

In deciding the sanction, the court must take into account whether there are any particular factors which would favour a sanction other than imprisonment.

Sanctions carried out by the Prison and Probation Service are Prison, Intensive supervision, Conditional release with community service, Probation, Probation with community service, Probation with contract treatment.


Life imprisonment is the severest penalty allowed under Swedish Law. Unlike other sentences, life imprisonment is of indeterminate length.

Those serving life imprisonment sentences can apply to the Örebro District Court to have their sentences commuted to a determined sentence after  having served at least ten years of their sentence. The Court may only commute a life sentence to a determined sentence that is equal to or above the maximum sentence allowed in Sweden, which is 18 years.

Intensive supervision

Intensive supervision with electronic monitoring ('tagging') is an alternative way of serving a prison sentence. The convicted person is monitored 24 hours a day with the aid of a transmitter attached to the ankle. Persons sentenced to a maximum of six months of prison can apply for intensive supervision.

Conditional sentence with community service

This sentence is applied mainly when a person has committed a crime of a one-off nature. It can be combined with community service if the convicted person agrees.

Probation is a non-custodial sentence. Probation lasts three years with supervision during the first year. Misbehaviour can lead to the period being extended.

Probation with community service

Probation is supplemented by an order to perform unpaid work. The court sets the number of hours, which vary between 40 and 240.

Probation with a special treatment plan

Contract treatment is primarily used for long-term substance abusers where there is a clear link between the abuse and crime. A contract is drawn up between the court and the client regarding institutional care, which can be in a home or at an open clinic.