Inmates participating in work or other activities and who are considered to suit in freer circumstances and are not likely to leave the institution without permission, are placed in open institutions. In open institutions inmates always use their own clothes. All open institutions are intoxicant-free institutions, in which an inmate is required to controlled commitment not to use intoxicants. - Finnish Prison Service
As you can see, this 'prison' is dependant on the prisoners not walking away. This is why, as it says above, they only put low-risk inmates in there. Here is where is gets tricky as the Finns, with their European-style 'forgive the criminal' mentality decided that a triple murderer with a life sentence was a low-risk criminal.
Convicted triple murderer Juha Valjakkala, who currently goes under the name Nikita Joakim Fouganthine, escaped from the Hamina Work Colony run by the Finnish Prison Service in the south coast city of Hamina on Monday night.
Valjakkala was last seen at the minimum security penal facility at roll call Monday evening at about 10:00 PM. His absence was noticed at eight in the morning, on Tuesday, which means that the escapee could have a head start of up to ten hours. - HS
Now if it makes you feel any better, according to their rules, he did not exactly escape. He just left without permission:
Leaving an open institution is not considered as an escape. If a prisoner has left the institution without permission, he can be ordered as a disciplinary punishment a loss of served time at most 20 days. In 2005 18 (27 in 2004) prisoners left an open institution without permission. - Prison Service
You get the have private visits with the wife:
And the Government pays for it:
A prisoner may be granted a permission of leave after he/she has served a half of the sentence or if there is an especially important reason. The permission is granted if it is likely that the prisoner complies with the permission conditions. To a prisoner guilty of aggravated drug or violent offence or a prisoner who has earlier violated the permission conditions grossly can permission of leave be granted only if the complying with of the conditions is considered almost certain. - PS
Travel costs on the permission of leave are paid from state funds if the permission has been granted due to a close relative’s serious illness. Also the travels during the first leave and always when it is 6 months since the last return are paid by the state. Then the cheapest way of travel must be used. A prisoner may not leave the Nordic countries. - PS
Juha Veikko Valjakkala (born June 13, 1965) became a part of Finnish and Swedish crime history in 1988 when he was convicted of the murder of a family of three at a cemetery in the northern Swedish community of Åmsele.The series of events that led to the murders began when the 22-year-old Valjakkala was released from a prison in Turku on May 1, 1988, after which he started wandering through Sweden and Finland with his 21-year-old girlfriend Marita Routalammi.On July 3 they arrived in Åmsele. After nightfall Valjakkala stole a bicycle. He was pursued by Sten Nilsson and his 15-year-old son Fredrik. The chase ended at a cemetery where Sten and Fredrik Nilsson were both shot by Valjakkala with a shotgun. Later Sten's wife and Fredrik's mother, Ewa Nilsson, went looking for the two and was stabbed to death by Valjakkala outside the cemetery. Valjakkala and Routalammi were caught in Odense, Denmark just over a week later.Valjakkala was given a life sentence on three counts of murder, while Routalammi got off with two years for complicity in assault and battery. Routalammi was released after serving half of her time, and Valjakkala was transferred to Finland to serve out the rest of his sentence.In April 1994 Valjakkala fled the Riihimäki prison where he was being held. He took a teacher as a hostage, but he was apprehended nearby and the hostage escaped the situation unscathed. He has also tried to escape once in 1991. - Wiki
If he is caught, his punishment would only be an additional 20 days which means nothing since he is serving a life sentence. for those familiar, a life sentence in Finland is about 12 years. He has already served 18 years and was waiting for a Presidential pardon. It might be that he got tired waiting.
SUPERIOR POLICING does little good without a commitment from the justice system to keep violent thugs off the streets. The United States has the longest prison sentences in the Western world. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and its counterparts in other countries, a convicted armed robber can expect to serve about four and a half years behind bars in the United States, a little over two years in Great Britain, a bit less in Germany, and less than 18 months in France. The United States imprisons nearly 700 out of 100,000 citizens as compared to about 125 in the U.K. and Canada, 100 in Germany, and about 60 in most of Scandinavia. Some of these countries may actually have fewer thugs than the United States, but those left unpunished do enormous damage.While building and staffing prisons costs a great deal, letting criminals roam free costs even more. One violent criminal can do over a million dollars worth of damage in the space of a year. A single armed robbery costs society more than $50,000, and a hardened thug can commit a hundred such crimes in a year. The European elite still seems to regard Americans' desire to lock up violent criminals as an index of barbarism and America as a nation gripped by violence and infatuated with rough, frontier justice. With violence and theft exploding all over the developed world, however, one has to ask which type of society is barbaric--one that punishes criminals, or one that lets them prey on law-abiding citizens?Not surprisingly, overwhelming evidence demonstrates that keeping criminals locked up reduces crime. British academic Donald E. Lewis's comprehensive 1986 examination of studies on the correlation between sentence length and crime rates (published in the British Journal of Criminology) concludes that doubling the length of the sentence for a crime will cut the likelihood that criminals will commit that crime by a little less than 50 percent. In a comprehensive comparison of crime rates in the United States and Great Britain, a Bureau of Justice Statistics researcher and the head of Cambridge University's Criminology Institute hit on the key fact: Crime rates fell in the United States as punishment increased and rose in Britain as punishment decreased. As James Q. Wilson has observed, "coincident with rising prison population there began in 1979-80 a steep reduction in the crime rate as reported by the victimization surveys." - Weekly Standard
- Finland +12%
- US -12%
- Finland +7%
- US -12%
- Finland +7%
- US -15%
- Finland -24%
- US -14%
- Finland +3%
- US -9%
- Finland +79%
- US 0
Take this from the 'murder' entry in Wikipedia:
Finland is the most violent nation in Western Europe according to several recent studies. The most likely way to get "manslaughtered" in Finland is to get stabbed or severely beaten by an intoxicated male person. Also, guns such as rifles and shotguns have traditionally been more usual in Finland than in most of Europe due to the popularity of hunting. There are over a million registered guns and firearms in private ownership in Finland while the country's entire population is only a little over five million. - Wiki
You can bet that Juha has no problems with the Finnish system. Neither do two other Finns who have committed murder in the US and then fled to Finland, to avoid the death penalty.
Finnish triple murderer escapes from minimum security prison - Helsingin Sanomat
Crime Without Punishment - Weekly Standard
International comparisons of criminal justice statistics 2001 - PDF
Finnish Murderers - Wiki
Update: 1 December 2006
Police arrested escaped triple murderer Juha Valjakkala at his private home in the Maunula district of Helsinki at 7:30 Thursday evening. Valjakkala, who had escaped from the Hamina Work Colony run by the Finnish Prison Service in the south coast city of Hamina on Monday night, did not put up any resistance when he was arrested. - Helsingin Sanomat
Just how did he get to Helsinki? Why he stole a car of course:
Jalonen thinks that it is likely that Valjakkala drove to Helsinki in a car that was stolen from Hamina at about the time that he fled the city. The car was found in Maunula the following day. However, Jalonen emphasised that the investigation is not yet complete. - Helsingin Sanomat
Minister of Justice Leena Luhtanen (SDP) said on Thursday that transferring Juha Valjakkala from an ordinary prison to a more open labour colony was a mistake.
Speaking in Parliament during Question Time, Luhtanen noted that the decision was made by the Criminal Sanctions Agency, and that the Ministry of Justice had no knowledge of the matter.
MP Petri Salo (Nat. Coalition Party) asked how it was possible that a triple murderer with a record of four escapes could be moved to a labour colony where supervision of inmates is more difficult, and escape is easier. - Helsingin Sanomat
Inspector Jukka Siltaloppi of the Criminal Sanctions Agency says that Valjakkala will be placed immediately in a closed prison.
Siltaloppi believes that Valjakkala will not have any hope of getting a furlough or being transferred to a minimum security prison for at least six months to a year.
He also faces disciplinary action, which could vary from a warning to solitary confinement. - Helsingin Sanomat
In addition to Valjakkala there was a woman about 40 years old in the apartment. The National Bureau of Investigation is looking into her possible involvement in the events, but police say that she is being treated as an outsider.
"She has certainly had some kind of relationship with Valjakkala, but we have not yet investigated the matter", said Police Inspector Kari Jalonen. - Helsingin Sanomat
Clearly, this is not the end of the story. He is not dead yet.
Update: 2 December 2006
Kolmoismurhaaja Juha Valjakkala yritti perjantaina itsemurhaa. Ilta-Sanomien mukaan Valjakkala yritti hirttäytyä vankisellissään Helsingin vankilassa eli Sörkässä. - Helsingin Sanomat
Update: 4 December
Here is the summary of the hanging attempt in English:
Juha Valjakkala, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing three members of the same family in northern Sweden in 1988, tried to hang himself after being re-arrested on Thursday. Valjakkala escaped from a low security prison at Hamina in Finland on Monday but was seized three days later at an apartment in Helsinki.
Now he is being detained under police guard in a psychiatric ward in the Finnish capital, according to Aftonbladet and the Finnish paper Ilta Sanomat. Two hours after Valjakkala was arrested on Thursday he was found in his cell "in a bad condition". He was taken to the emergency ward of Helsinki's Maria hospital.However, his injuries were not judged to be serious and Valjakkala was taken to a secure psychiatric ward. - The Local, Sweden
Also, when are European countries going to stop transferring prisoners back to their home country to serve their sentences? I can understand that it makes it easier for the relative to visit prisoners, but shouldn't the prisoners take that into consideration prior to doing the crime? At least in the case of murder, I would think that the country where the crime took place might have more of an interest in ensuring that the prisoner is kept locked up. If they are willing to commit crimes in other countries they should be ready to face justice on those other countries, including the death penalty, like in the US.
*"Leaving an open institution is not considered as an escape." Finnish Prison Service
Police catch escaped triple murderer Juha Valjakkala in Helsinki - Helsingin Sanomat
Järjestin Valjakkalalle pakopaikan - Iltalehti