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Transfer of Sentenced Persons in Europe: Much Ado About Reintegration

NCJ Number
Punishment & Society Volume: 11 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2009 Pages: 111-128
Eveline De Wree; Tom Vander Beken; Gert Vermeulen
Date Published
January 2009
18 pages
This study evaluated the goals of the transfer instruments to discover if they were reflected in the policies’ implementation and application.
In recent years new instruments have been developed in Europe that allow sentenced persons to be transferred to their country of nationality/origin or permanent residence where the sentence is then carried out. Findings suggest that the intrinsic components of the rehabilitative framework are present in the prevailing regulations with substantial attention devoted to the societal bonds of an offender. Currently, the Transfer Convention is the most important instrument and allows some room for subjectivity in the decisionmaking process. Before a decision is taken the personal motivation of an offender is taken into account, as sentenced persons currently have a veto right that allows them to prevent a transfer against their will. Even when such consent will no longer be required (the proposed Framework Decision), it will still be necessary to consult them. Not all components of reintegration were incorporated in the prevailing regulations; the subsidiarity of the prison sentence is only mentioned in the Supervision Convention (and Framework Decision). The transfer instruments also contain elements that are contrary to the philosophy of reintegration; there is very little room for sentenced persons to initiate a transfer. The transfer of sentenced persons could be an important tool for improving offenders’ reintegration prospects; not all aspects of rehabilitation are present in the current regulations and in the future, they will be devalued even more. Figure, notes, and references