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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118773 Find in a Library
Title: On Doing Less Harm: Western European Alternatives to Incarceration
Author(s): D Fogel
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 265
Sponsoring Agency: German Marshall Fund of the US
Washington, DC 20036
University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL 60607-2919
Publication Number: ISBN 0-942511-05-0
Sale Source: University of Illinois at Chicago
Office of International Criminal Justice
1033 West Van Buren Street, Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60607-2919
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study surveys the use of alternatives to incarceration in West European criminal justice systems.
Abstract: In Scandinavian countries, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Belgium, West Germany, and Austria, there are disparities in how the crime problem is viewed and in incarceration rates. The United Kingdom has the lowest rate of homicide, but Sweden has the highest rates of theft and total criminality. The United States' incarceration rate is 10 times the Netherlands' rate and twice the United Kingdom's rate. The Netherlands has the least number of alternatives to incarceration and the lowest incarceration rate of all Western nations. The Dutch have kept prison populations low primarily because they are not willing to overcrowd and private probation officers and volunteer helpers have emerged as mitigators. Sweden has a three-tiered, noncustodial sanctioning system that includes the use of conditional sentences as a warning, supervision, and intensive supervision. Several European countries use day fines and permit an expanded role for police and prosecutors in dealing with minor offenses. Most countries have a ceiling on long sentences, except for intentional homicide. In general, Europeans share the views that crime prevention and reparation are more beneficial than punishment, that criminal policy and legislation should emphasize victim compensation, that prison sentences should be imposed as a last resort, that confinement of convicted offenders should be gradually replaced by rehabilitation and treatment, that social workers should be used in offender treatment, and that probation services should be expanded. Recommendations on alternatives to incarceration deal with probation services, day fines, and an expanded prosecutor role in settling cases at the pretrial level. 546 references, 35 tables.
Main Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization
Index Term(s): Country-by-country surveys; Foreign criminal justice systems; Western Europe
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