Less trust in Reinfeldt
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt gets the lowest trust score in five years, according to a new survey conducted by Dagens Nyheter and Ipsos. The trust Swedes have in Reinfeldt is at 48 percent compared to 52 percent in the last survey. The change is statistically significant, according to DN. ”During the fall we’ve seen a decline in ratings for the government and the Moderate Party (to which Reinfeldt belongs). So it is not surprising that this is reflected in the trust in a politician that’s leading the government and the Moderate Party,” says Johanna Laurin Gulled, opinion analyst at Ipsos. She adds that there still a high level of trust in the Prime Minister among Swedes. "We also note that among his own allies he has a very strong support, around 90 percent.” The trust in the leader of the Social Democrats, Stefan Löfven, is also on the decline—from 43 to 42 percent. Gustav Fridolin and Åsa Romson, spokespersons for the Green Party, also get lower scores in trust. Compared to the last survey in June, the trust in Göran Hägglund, leader of the Christian Democrats, Jan Björklund, leader of the Liberal People’s Party and Jimmie Åkesson, leader of the Sweden Democrats, remains unchanged. The trust in Annie Lööf, the Center Party’s leader and Jonas Sjöstedt, the Left Party’s leader, has increased somewhat.

Women uncomfortable about work
More young women than men feel psychologically uncomfortable about going to work, according to a survey done by Sveriges Företagshälsor. Among 31-40 year olds, 41 percent of the women said they felt discomfort about going to work, compared to 26 percent of the men. In all age groups, women more than men have been at home from work due to illness; 80 percent of the polled women under age 30 had been gone from work because of illness, compared to 75 percent of the men. Women, to a higher degree than men, also believe they will need to say at home because of illness in the future. The number of men and women who are never sick, has gone down compared to 2007. In 2007, 35 percent never missed a day at work because of illness; in 2013, the number was 23 percent.

Threats because of halal meat
Svedala municipality has received threats because halal-marked meat is, since 2009, part of the municipality’s procurement contract. According to Swedish Radio, there are racist jeers and indirect threats in emails to the municipality.

Homelessness in Malmö
During the past year, the number of homeless children in Malmö has increased by over one hundred. In Malmö city’s survey of the homeless, there is a total of 329 children in the statistics. 1,302 people have only temporary accommodation or no accommodation at all, and are classified as homeless in the annual survey, which was released recently. Homelessness caused by addiction and mental illness decreased, while homelessness due to financial reasons and societal alienation increased.

Priestess wants pagan pastoral cure
The hospitals in Skåne don’t offer any pastoral cures for pagans, according to a Wiccan high priestess. In a letter to Region Skåne she offers to furnish suitable rooms, says an article in daily Kristianstadsbladet. In their answer, Region Skåne writes that the rooms are made to suit all visitors, regardless of faith or creed.

Fewer prisoners
In ten years, the number of prisoners in Swedish penitentiaries has decreased by a fifth, although both Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask want harsher penalties for a range of offenses. According to daily Sydsvenskan, statistics from Kriminalvården show that fewer offenders are behind bars in Sweden. In September 2006, which is when the Alliance government won the election and came to power, 4,775 criminals were locked up in Swedish prisons. In September of this year, the number was 3,827. Jerzy Samecki, professor in criminology, says this is a natural consequence as crime has gone down: ”The Moderates can not very well run out and commit crimes themselves in order to get the statistics up,” he says. Statistics from Brå (Brottsförebyggande rådet or the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention) show that violent crimes in Sweden have dropped. There were 62 homicides last year, the lowest number since the 1960s and half as high as the 1990s. But the depopulation of the Swedish prisons has other explanations as well. Alternative penalties like tagging and community service are more often replacing a prison sentence. ”These reforms were made before the Moderate government’s time. But they get full impact now,” says Samecki. Prime Minister Reinfeldt has in many visible appearances during the past year talked about people who commit crimes in Sweden and how they usually get off easily. During a meeting in Karlstad in March, he spent an entire speech advocating stiffer penalties for everything from burglary to Internet violations. ”In many cases, the penalties are unjustifiably low,” he said. Both Reinfeldt and Ask have criticized the country’s courts because of lighter sentences. The courts take the edge off the criminal tightening that the government has already implemented, the Moderate Party says. And the Justice Department is not only unhappy with the courts’ sentencing of violent crime, but the Supreme Court has set the bar far too low in practice, even when it comes to drug crimes. What about the most serious of crimes—murder? Even here, the Moderate Party feels the Supreme Court and the lower courts have been too lenient. Through an amendment in 2006, it became possible to sentence a murderer to 18 years in prison (previously the maximum sentence was 12 years), but after this reform, the courts have only rarely condemned murderers to life. In 2007 there were 16 life sentences imposed; last year there were only two. At a press briefing at Rosenbad, Ask said: "Life sentence should be the normal punishment for murder.” The fact that prisoners are diminishing in number leads to consequences for the Kriminalvård (the Prison and Probation Service). A few weeks ago the old 19th century prison in Kristianstad closed for good. According to Professor Samecki, there is scientific proof that the development of having fewer people imprisoned is a good sign: ”Research shows unequivocally that prison doesn’t deter people from committing crimes,” he says. "For those who end up in jail, family and social contexts soon fall apart. The risk for a relapse is huge. There’s simply no scientific evidence whatsoever that crime decreases if we put more people behind bars. It’s the exact opposite.”