Norway’s Maximum Prison Sentence Isn’t Exactly a Maximum

Some of the buzz surrounding the recent tragedy in Norway is dealing with the fact that the maximum prison sentence you can serve in that country is 21 years. A lot of people are rather upset that the man who has admitted to the attacks which killed 93 people may spent a paltry 21 years in prison. Oh ye of little faith. The state always makes exceptions in their rules that allow them to punish somebody more severely than generally believed. Norway does have an exception to their maximum 21 year prison sentence rule:

Norway’s mass killer faces a maximum jail term of just 21 years. Astonishingly, that is the longest sentence available to judges in Norway’s benevolent justice system.


Only in exceptional cases, if officials consider a prisoner is still highly dangerous, will sentences be extended for additional five-year blocks.

Judging by the man’s actions and material he’s produced I’d say justification for him being a continued danger to society wouldn’t be hard to come by. The man who claimed responsibility in this case very well could spend the rest of his life in prison so long as he’s judged a continued threat to society every five years.

Never believe stories that claim a state has established limitations on the amount of punishment they can dole out. In this case I believe the attacker deserves far more than a mere 21 years in prison and I’m betting he’ll get far more.