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Crime Prevention and Community Sanctions in Scandinavia (From Resource Material Series No. 74, P 20-52, January 2008, Grace Lord, ed. - See NCJ-228935)

NCJ Number
Dr. Tapio Lappi-Seppala
Date Published
January 2009
33 pages
This paper provides an overview of Scandinavian systems of criminal justice, with attention to the sentencing options of community sanctions, fines, conditional imprisonment/suspended sentences, probation and treatment orders, community service, and electronic monitoring.
The introduction examines measures of criminal justice policy success, noting the importance of cost/benefit analyses of policies, which have shown the over-riding success of social and situational crime prevention programs compared to criminal justice interventions, especially imprisonment. This is followed by a review of the similarities in Nordic countries' systems of criminal justice regarding sanctions, sentencing structure, the enforcement of criminal sanctions, juvenile justice, restorative justice and mediation, and basics in proceedings. This is followed by an overview of community sanctions, which encompass the basic sentencing alternatives of fines, conditional or suspended sentences, supervision, community service, and electronic monitoring. The discussion of fines focuses on the day-fine system (the most frequently applied punishment in all Scandinavian countries) and fines in Finland. The latter discussion addresses proceedings and summary fines, practice, and public acceptance of the day-fine system. The effects of fines on recidivism are also considered. The section on conditional imprisonment/suspended sentences explains the structure (types and terminology, contents and conditions, and combinations); conditional imprisonment in Finland; and the implementation and effects of conditional imprisonment in Finland. Since Sweden is the only Scandinavian country with a separate, independent probation type of sanction, Swedish probation orders are described. Sweden and Denmark have treatment orders, which are concerned with mandated treatment for specific conditions and may be linked to conditional imprisonment. The general structure of community service in Scandinavian countries is described, followed by a focus on community service in Finland and an assessment of its effectiveness. Regarding electronic monitoring, its various forms are explained, along with its general structure and uses in Scandinavia. Tables, charts, and figures