On 22 July 2011, Anders Breivik killed eight people by detonating a van bomb in government buildings in Oslo, then shot 69 youngest left-wingers at a summer camp. Capital punishment had been outlawed in a ‘progressive’ country like Sweden since 1910 so Breivik was given the maximum sentence of 23 out of 24 hours in isolation for 21 years.
This means that he has some human interaction. Had he been completely isolated for 24 hours a day with not even a word passed or a sound heard, then Breivik would have been totally dehumanised within weeks However, on a thin conversational diet, there would have been enough jailors who shared his anti-Muslim immigrant and anti-left wing views who gave him quiet support and thus prevented hum going completely insane.
As it happened, he wasn’t too badly affected that he couldn’t initiate an appeal at Oslo District Court under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights. He won. And from now onwards he’ll be given more than 23 hours or freedom, presumably of conversation out of his cell.
Breivik will now have more time to share his ideas with others and for others to signify that he’s not quite as egregious as everybody else believes. He’s thus ikely to retain fixed in his views until his old age. Thus nothing will have been achieved by long imprisonment except public protection at enormous expenses.
There are only two sensible ways of sentencing such a gross premeditated killer. Either capital punishment — retribution which would satisfy most members of the public — or to absorb him full-time in a work group which has powerful therapeutic effects in due course in bringing about profound voluntarily changes in ideas and behaviour.