In Finland, a post-war expansion of the welfare state was associated with a decline in the use of imprisonment. The 1990s marked the beginning of a more ambivalent era in Finnish criminal justice. How does this turning point appear in the public discourse on crime by political decision-makers? All parliamentary questions and members’ initiatives from 1975 to 2010 were examined with a keyword-based quantitative search, and further content analysis was conducted on data made up of 1589 written parliamentary questions about crime control from 1970 to 2010. The relative prevalence of criminal policy issues rose significantly in the early 1990s. During the same period, the political initiative moved towards the right and the views of the left seemed to move closer to the right concurrently. Although stances became tougher, expressions of leniency were in the minority before the 1990s too, which stresses the significance of the general level of political attention itself. Developments regarding specific types of crime are discussed.
Keywords: Criminal justice, penal policy, legal history, parliamentary democracy, political parties, Finland.
Copyright (c) 2018 Esko Häkkinen
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