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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 49500 Find in a Library
Title: FINNISH PENAL SYSTEM - RECENT REFORMS
Journal: REVUE PENITENTIARE ET DE DROIT PENAL  Issue:4  Dated:(OCTOBER/DECEMBER 1977)  Pages:573-603
Author(s): B ZAGARIS
Corporate Author: Societe Generale des Prisons et de Legislation Criminelle
France
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: Societe Generale des Prisons et de Legislation Criminelle
Paris, France
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: France
Annotation: FOLLOWING AN OVERVIEW OF THE FINNISH ADJUDICATORY PROCESS FROM ARREST THROUGH SENTENCING, REFORMS CARRIED OUT WITHIN THE NATIONAL PENAL STRUCTURE ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: THE FINNISH JUDICIAL SYSTEM HAS BEEN INFLUENCED PRIMARILY BY SWEDEN, AS THESE TWO COUNTRIES WERE UNITED UNTIL 1809. SINCE INDEPENDENCE, JUDICIAL REFORMS IN SWEDEN HAVE SERVED AS A MODEL FOR THOSE IN FINLAND. THE CRIMINAL PROCESS BEGINS WITH ARREST AND DETENTION. THE ACCUSED MAY BE SUMMONED TO COURT BY A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL OR BY A PROSECUTOR; THE VICTIM ALWAYS PARTICIPATES IN THE PROCEEDINGS AND ALWAYS HAS THE RIGHT TO SUE FOR DAMAGES. TRIALS BEGIN WITH AN INDICTMENT AND JUDGES PRESIDE OVER A COURT HAMPERED BY FEW PROCEDURAL RULES; THE RULES THAT DO APPLY ARE MAINLY CONCERNED WITH CROSS-EXAMINATION. SENTENCES ARE PRONOUNCED BY THE JUDGE AND PRESENTENCE REPORTS ARE USED ONLY IN CASES INVOLVING JUVENILE DELINQUENTS, MURDER, OR A DEFENDANT WITH A MENTAL PROBLEM. CORRECTIONS MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION ARE HIGHLY CENTRALIZED, WITH THE JUSTICE MINISTER DIRECTING BOTH THE COURTS AND THE PENITENTIARY. THE PENAL REFORMS THAT HAVE BEEN INSTITUTED SINCE THE 1950'S HAVE FOCUSED ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE PENAL ENVIRONMENT AND THE NUMBER OF OFFENDERS SENTENCED TO SOME FORM OF INCARCERATION. OPEN LABOR FACILITIES HAVE BEEN CREATED AS ALTERNATIVES TO THE RESTRICTED, CASTLE-LIKE INSTITUTIONS BUILT IN THE 1800'S. IN ADDITION, SENTENCING REFORMS HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED TO RESTRICT JUDGES' LATITUDE IN DETERMINING SENTENCES, AN EFFORT AIMED AT INSTILLING GREATER SENTENCING UNIFORMITY AND MAKING THE PENALTY PROPORTIONATE TO THE CRIME. CHANGES IN PENITENTIARY STRUCTURE AND ALTERNATIVE SANCTIONS (E.G., FINES, PROBATION) WERE ALSO INSTITUTED TO REDUCE THE INCREASING INMATE POPULATIONS. OTHER MEASURES HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO NORMALIZE THE PRISON REGIME IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE INMATE'S REINTEGRATION INTO SOCIETY AND TO DECRIMINALIZE MINOR TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS AND SUCH MORALS OFFENSES AS PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS, PORNOGRAPHY, ABORTION, AND CERTAIN SEXUAL CONDUCT. --IN FRENCH. (KBL)
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Finland; Judicial process; Sentencing/Sanctions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=49500

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