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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69552 Find in a Library
Title: Fines and Justice Administration - The Experience of the Federal Republic of Germany
Journal: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1980)  Pages:3-14
Author(s): H J Albrecht; E H Johnson
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Several classes of data were collected in the courts of Baden-Wuerttemberg of the Federal Republic of Germany, with information on 1,863 cases resulting in conviction in 1972, to discover the impact of the revised use of fines.
Abstract: As part of its effort to revise the penal code in 1969, the Federal Republic of Germany increased its reliance on fines, including the introduction of day fines, in lieu of short-term imprisonment for minor offenses. The setting of fines according to the defendant's income is basic to the day-fine system, where the gradation of penalties, according to the evaluation of the seriousness of the offense, is measured by the number of days that the proportionate fine must be paid. Germany's previous trend toward the use of fines was accelerated by the requirement that courts order imprisonment only in exceptional cases. Traffic cases were particularly affected. The qualities of the offense and the absence of previous offenses, rather than an individual study of the offender, continued to be the dominant criterion influencing the choice of a fine. The chief effect of day fines was higher amounts applied to the more affluent defendants. Yet the amount of the fine appeared to have no effect on subsequent recidivism. For first offenders, fines were superior to imprisonment in avoiding reconviction. Day fines were no more effective (but not less effective) than imprisonment in the instance of traffic offenses. Fines were superior to other sanctions for petty property offenders but not for career thieves. Thus, 10 years after the introduction of the fine on a large scale basis, data support the view that the policy has been found politically acceptable, administratively practical, and penologically sound. Twenty-five references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Fines; Germany; Misdemeanor
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