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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 114523 Find in a Library
Title: Need for a Wide Understanding of Non-Custodial Alternatives Imposed by the Courts (From Alternatives to Custodial Sanctions, P 143-164, 1988 -- See NCJ-114520)
Author(s): H P Coelho
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Government Printing Ctre
SF-00101 Helsinki 10, Finland
Sale Source: Government Printing Ctre
Marketing Department
Mail-Order Business
P.O. Box 516
SF-00101 Helsinki 10,
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: Finland
Annotation: With the demise of nearly 50 years of dictatorship in Portugal in 1974, a new penal code was adopted that was less liberal and progressive than the first draft drawn up in 1960's or even than some of the correctional policies of the 19th century.
Abstract: Because of political instability, the draft was not acted upon when placed before the parliament in 1977 and 1979. In 1981, the penal code was redrafted and laid before parliament a year later; and the Government pressed for speedy legislative action. Opposition to hasty adoption called for parliamentary and public debate of so important an issue as penal reform. While the new code calls for the establishment of alternatives to incarceration, Portuguese courts have imposed only 92 probation and 28 community service orders between January 1983 (when the code went into force) and June 1987. A survey of 200 judges suggested that this poor implementation of reforms was a result of judicial skepticism about the probation service, the practical aspects of enforcement, and the strict legal limitations on the use of alternatives. A lack of prior experimentation with the reforms and the fact that they were based on foreign models may also have contributed. Implementation of traditional alternatives of fines and suspended sentences has been better, but the enlarged scope given them has not resulted in their increased use. Research, training, and information activities undertaken by the Centro de Estudos Judiciarios should help improve interagency cooperation and communication and lead to greater understanding of criminal justice issues, including alternatives to incarceration. 21 footnotes and 25 references.
Main Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Legislative impact; Portugal
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