An eighteen-month sentence for the theft of four bread rolls, two years in jail for the theft of a stick of salami and cheap box wine, or two years for the theft of boxer shorts that cost less than 200 crowns. Those are some of the sentences being meted out by judges dealing with crimes committed during the state of emergency declared in connection with the coronavirus crisis. Are they absurd? Judges claim that the punishment for crimes committed at a time when the society is at its most vulnerable must reflect the gravity of the circumstances.

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