188 000 punished last year
Social conditions, welfare and crime;Immigration and immigrants;Svalbard
straff, Penal sanctions, crime, criminal cases, type of sanction (for example incarceration, community service, fine), punishment (for example amount of fine, length of prison sentence), sanctioned, judicial authority, offence groups (for example violence, drugs, crimes for profit), types of offence (for example theft, murder, rape)Social conditions, welfare and crime, Social conditions, welfare and crime, Crime and justice, Social conditions, welfare and crime, Immigration and immigrants, Svalbard

Penal sanctions1998-1999



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188 000 punished last year

Over the course of 1999, 215 000 sanctions were imposed in Norway. This amounts to 60 sanctions per 1 000 inhabitants over the age of criminal liability. Approximately 21 000 persons incurred two or more sanctions, so that the number of persons punished was 188 000.

Strictly speaking the figures apply to sanctions registered during the year. Thus, the statistics include a number of sanctions imposed in 1998. On the other hand, a number of sanctions imposed in 1999 will be part of the statistics for 2000.

More serious offences

In 1999 the number of sanctions was about 1 per cent lower than in 1998. This decline is due to the fact that fewer sanctions were imposed in misdemeanour cases, whereas crime cases increased by 6 per cent. Even in a longer time perspective there has been a greater increase in crime cases than in misdemeanour cases; for example, in 1989-1999, the increase was 40 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. This possible priority to more serious crime is also reflected in the relative figures. In 1989-1999 the number of sanctions per 1 000 inhabitants increased from 51 to 60, whereas the increase was significantly greater for crime cases seen in isolation, from four to six sanctions per 1 000. The conclusion is that not very many more are punished today than 10 years ago, but they are being punished for more serious crime.

Ticket fines in traffic cases predominate

The most common sanction in 1999 was an on-the-spot fine. On-the-spot fines comprised 71 per cent of all sanctions and were mainly given for traffic misdemeanours. These were followed by ticket fines, at 19 per cent of sanctions, and in third place were imprisonments, at 8 per cent. 17 000 prison sentences were handed down, of which about half were unconditional. The remaining 2 per cent were divided among dropped charges, fines, community service sentences and security detention. Thirty-five persons were sentenced to security detention alone, whereas 25 were sentenced to security detention in addition to imprisonment.

The highest fines, in a few cases of NOK 1 million or more, were imposed for economic and environmental crimes. The average fine was NOK 2 070, when 200 cases against companies are included, whereas fines in cases against persons averaged approx. NOK 1900. All told, the fines registered last year amounted to NOK 425 million.

Almost everyone agrees to pay a fine

The single infraction causing the most sanctions was exceeding the speed limit while driving. Usually such cases are settled when the driver is presented with a ticket fine. He or she can pay, or refuse and have the case go to court. The figures show that most agree to pay the fine. Only 1 per cent of all speeding cases in 1999 were decided in court.

Nine years for murder

In all, 9 300 sentences for unconditional imprisonment were registered. A third of all prison sentences involved offences for profit, whereas almost a third involved traffic violations, for the most part drunk driving. The longest prison sentences were handed down in murder cases, where sentences averaged nine years. This was followed by serious narcotics offences, with three years, and rape and incest cases, with between two and three years. The average prison sentence, regardless of infraction type, was 155 days.

Nineteen-year-olds commit most crimes

In a breakdown by age, it is nineteen-year-olds who incurred the most sanctions, with 111 sanctions per 1 000 nineteen-year-olds in the population. The youngest persons subject to punishment, fifteen-year-olds, had a ratio of 18 sanctions per 1 000, whereas the ratio among fifty-year-olds was 37 per 1 000. The inclination to incur sanctions is also strongly sex-dependent. Whereas among the general population 60 sanctions were imposed per 1 000 inhabitants, the ratio among men was 101 per 1 000 and among women, 20 per 1 000. Apparently, the most active were nineteen-year-old males, with 186 sanctions per 1 000 nineteen-year-old males in the population.

More women punished

It is only the last three years that statistics show the sex distribution in all offences, crimes as well as misdemeanours. During this period the share of cases with a female perpetrator has remained stable at just under 17 per cent. For crimes for which a sex ratio was quantified earlier, there has been a clear increase in sanctions imposed on women. For example, 9 per cent of sanctions in 1989 were imposed on women, whereas the share 10 years later was 14 per cent. On the whole, women received lighter punishments than men. Unconditional imprisonments to which women were sentenced averaged 120 days, as opposed to 157 for men. Fines imposed on women averaged 10-20 per cent lower than fines imposed on men, depending on the type of fine involved.

Europeans punished most

In approximately one in 12 sanctions, the perpetrator was a foreign national. The involvement of foreigners was greatest in cases involving offences for profit, where 20 per cent of sanctions had a foreign perpetrator. By far, most cases against foreigners, 82 per cent, involved persons from countries in Europe. Ten per cent involved persons from Asia, 5 per cent involved people from the Americas and the remaining 3 per cent involved Africans.