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Monday's papers: Tampere killing, prisoners' parole and forest regulation

Monday's newspapers include stories on an apparent homicide in Tampere, a look at the threat assessments carried out prior to the release of prisoners, and news of a crucial vote for the Finnish forest industry in the European Parliament.

Metsä-Groupin hakattuja puita pinossa.
It's a big week for Finland's forest products industry. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Most papers cover the discovery of a body in Tampere that is now being investigated by police as a homicide. Local daily Aamulehti says that the victim was a woman born in 1972, and she was found in the house where she lived on Peltovainionkatu, in the Lielahti district.

Aamulehti reports that the police are actively seeking eyewitness accounts from the weekend, and are in particular looking for anyone who may have seen a grey Mercedes B-180, registration number CHS-413, which was seen in the area.

Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is requested to contact police via 0295445890 or via email at pitkakestoinen-pirkanmaa@poliisi.fi.

Prisoner threat assessment

Helsingin Sanomat leads with a report on psychiatric assessments of prisoners prior to release, and the slightly surprising news that evaluations by psychiatrists cannot always prevent the release of prisoners deemed dangerous by doctors.

The story was prompted by a decision from Helsinki Appeals Court to free a woman convicted of stabbing and dismembering a man in 2003, despite the assessment of court-appointed psychiatrists that there is a high risk of her re-offending.

The paper interviews several psychiatrists involved in preparing reports for parole hearings, and finds that they are generally taken into account in the legal system. Some prisoners can even receive longer sentences based on their threat level, even though they were not convicted of a violent crime.

Even so, the psychiatrists interviewed by HS agree that sometimes they get it wrong. Psychopaths are good at playing the system, and a simple points assessment based on alcohol dependency, violent crime record and psychopathic tendencies will usually predict recidivism more accurately than a professional assessment by a psychiatrist.

Somewhat paradoxically, prisoners given a life sentence are much less likely to re-offend than others, despite the generally more serious nature of their crimes.

Forestry vote

Several papers including Kauppalehti and Turun Sanomat report on an upcoming vote in the European Parliament with big implications for the Finnish forest products industry. At issue is the LULUCF (Land-use, land-use change and forestry) regulation.

This aims to increase the size of forest-based 'carbon sinks' in the European Union to offset the impact of carbon emissions, but there are some questions about the technicalities. The reference period used to assess the size and felling practices has been a bone of contention, with Finns keen to avoid defining the reference period as one when felling was lower than it is now.

As a country with a large forest products industry and plentiful forests, Finland has taken a keen interest in the legislation. If it was assessed that Finland was felling more than during the reference period, country's forests might be assessed as emitting carbon rather than storing it.

Last week EPP group leader Manfred Weber was in Helsinki and tweeted his support for Finnish adjustments to the LULUCF legislation after meeting Finance Minister Petteri Orpo.

This week an amendment tabled by Finnish MEP Nils Torvalds, who is also running for president in 2018, goes to the floor in the parliament. Torvalds told TS that his alternative to the current draft allows for more use of forest products, and takes better account of Finland's natural resources.

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