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Alternatives to imprisonment: Scope and evidence Alex Stevens.

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Presentation on theme: "Alternatives to imprisonment: Scope and evidence Alex Stevens."— Presentation transcript:

1 Alternatives to imprisonment: Scope and evidence Alex Stevens

2 This presentation Why do we need alternatives to imprisonment? What alternatives are used in Europe? Do they operate as alternatives, or as additions to imprisonment? What are the effects of alternatives to imprisonment on drug use and crime? What are the information needs in this area?

3 Prison populations are rising… Source: Council of Europe Penal Statistics (SPACE I)

4 … as crime falls Sources: International Crime Victimisation Survey & EU Crime and Safety Survey

5 Prisons are overcrowded Source: Council of Europe Penal Statistics (SPACE I), * US Bureau of Justice Statistics

6 … and prisons do not work Deterrence  Imprisonment does not deter (Tonry 2004) Rehabilitation  Longer sentences lead to more reoffending (Gendreau 1999) Incapacitation:  Small effects at high cost (Kuziemko & Levitt 2004) Retribution  If in doubt, do not inflict pain (Christie, 1981)

7 Alternatives to imprisonment… Decriminalisation Diversion of drug users from prosecution Quasi-compulsory treatment  Treatment of drug using offenders that is ordered, motivated or encouraged by the criminal justice system and takes place outside regular prisons.  Person retains the choice to go to treatment or face the usual sanction for their crime.  The alternative sanction should be the same as would be faced for any other person who committed that crime People should not be punished for refusing or failing in treatment.

8 Types of Quasi-Compulsory Treatment orders available in various EU countries CountryType of orderStage of CJSTargeted offendersType of diversion Austria§ 35 SMG “Vorläufige Zurücklegung der Anzeige durch den Staatsanwalt“ From police custody or during the prosecution process Drug crimes Acquisitive Crimes Suspension of prosecution § 37 SMG „ Vorläufige Einstellung durch das Gericht“ From police custody or or pre- trial detention Drug crimes Acquisitive Crimes Suspension of court hearings § 39 SMG „ Aufschub des Strafvollzuges“ “Therapie statt Strafe“ From pre- trail detention or at court hearings Any crime committed by an offender who is substance dependent Suspension of prison sentence EnglandDrug Rehabilitation RequirementAt trial sentencingOffenders eligible for a community sentence who are drug dependent Condition attached to a Community Order Germany§ 35, 36 BtMG Strafaussetzung „ Therapie statt Strafe“ Pre- trial detention, Pre-trial hearings, or during sentence. Offenders facing prison sentences of less than 2 years Suspension of sentence under probation supervision § 37 BtMG Zurückstellung der Strafe im Rahmen der Ermittlung Deferment of prosecution because of low seriousness of offence Offenders who are already participating in a treatment programme and who commit minor crimes. Suspension of prosecution § 38, 39 BtMG Aussetzung der Strafe um Rahmen der Strafverfolgung Pre-trial detention, or youth/juvenile detention Offenders facing prison sentences of less than 2 years Suspension of sentence under probation supervision § 56 StGB Bewährungsauflage Court hearingsCrimes committed in connection with drugs Specific order of the court ItalyEx art. 91 c. 3 T. U. 309/90Court hearings, or during sentence Drug dependent offenders facing less than 6 years remaining of a prison sentence (except Mafiosi) Suspension of imprisonment under supervision of probation

9 QCT Europe - Crimes leading to QCT sentence

10 Alternatives to imprisonment? The case of England & Wales

11 … and the prison population has risen

12 Decriminalisation as the real alternative

13 Effects of alternatives – The QCT Europe Sample UK – 157 Austria – 150 Germany – 153 Switzerland – 85 Italy – 300 Total – 845 people Half in QCT Half in ‘voluntary’ treatment

14 Drug use

15 Crime

16 Limitations Sample sizes were relatively small in each country. The sample did not compare QCT clients to prisoners (it was not possible to randomise sentencing). Results based on self-report. There were large differences between treatment centres in the quality and outcomes of treatment.

17 Information needs Is QCT being used as an alternative to imprisonment?  Number of people entering alternatives to imprisonment each year.  The profile of their offences.  The number of people entering prison each year. Does QCT ‘work’?  Replication of quasi-experimental studies.  Randomised controlled trials. Using variety of indicators (toxicology, police data).  ‘Realistic’ evaluations (Pawson & Tilley, 1998). Including qualitative methods What makes QCT work better?  How to improve inter-agency cooperation?  Motivational enhancement: Contingency management? Graduated sanctions?  Residential or outpatient? Cost-effectiveness of QCT.

18 Finally Thanks to QCT Europe partners:  Paul Turnbull, Tim McSweeney, Neil Hunt, Ambros Uchtenhagen, Susanne Schaaf, Kerrie Oeuvray, Daniele Berto, Wolfgang Werdenich, Barbara Trinkl, Viktoria Kerschl, Wolfgang Heckmann QCT Europe was funded by the European Commission’s 5 th Framework RTD Programme For more information:  


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