Date of Decision:12/5/2018
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs criticism towards the Social Services Board in Jönköping municipality for failure to investigate and issue decisions due to an aid application for a court-imposed care order
A man was prosecuted by the district court for assault, among other things. Rather than receiving a prison sentence, he received probation with an instruction for a treatment plan, referred to as a court-imposed care order (Chapter 30, Section 9, Second Paragraph 3 Swedish Penal Code).
For a court to impose a care order, the court need to have access to an on-going investigation into an individual’s personal circumstances as well as the conditions pursuant to enforcing such a sentence. Hence, in cases where care orders are issued, the court must obtain a statement, referred to as a presentence report investigation, from the Swedish Prison and Probation Service. The Prison and Probation Service must provide the investigation necessary for the statement. Proposals for a treatment plan must be investigated and established by the Swedish Prison and Probation Service. The proposal should be formulated in consultation with the social services. The cost of a care order is divided between the Prison and Probation Service and, as a rule, the social services.
The district court obtained a presentence report investigation from the Prison and Probation Service. The man applied to the board for assistance for the aid assessment for the care order. However, the board did not examine the man’s aid application for the care order, due to circumstances related to the staffing situation. Nor was a decision issued on the matter. Consequently, the Prison and Probation Service was without the basis to submit a proposal to the district court, outlining suitable treatment as an alternative to a prison sentence.
In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen states that the statement and proposal for a treatment plan form the grounds for the court’s choice of sentence for an individual. In practice, the court cannot impose a care order on an individual if they are without a treatment plan. Hence, a plan proposed by the Prison and Probation Service can be of great importance to an individual.
The failure of the Social Services Board to investigate and issue a decision regarding the man’s aid application for a court-imposed care order meant that the Prison and Probation Service was unable
to submit a treatment plan proposal to the court. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen this is unacceptable. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs criticism towards the Social Services Board for their failure to investigate and issue a decision regarding the man’s aid application for the court-imposed care order.