The research project aimed at understanding and promoting the use of alternative sentences to imprisonment within the European Union, with a special focus on the most vulnerable people and on the impact of the pandemic on the application and execution of these sentences.
Guided by the ‘Council Conclusions on alternative measures to detention: the use of non-custodial sanctions and measures in the field of criminal justice’ of December 2019, the project aimed to contribute to the knowledge on and the promotion of the use of alternative sentences within the European Union.
Firstly, through an EU-wide comparative study, it sought to understand and analyse the extent to which alternatives to imprisonment are applied in the Member States, with a particular focus on persons in situations of vulnerability.
Secondly, it aimed to promote the use of such alternatives, through training for criminal justice professionals, the development of legislative instruments as well as the design and monitoring of pilot projects, with a view to their possible dissemination in the other Member States.
1) A comparative study on the use and implementation of non-custodial sanctions in the EU Member States, in law and in practice, with a particular focus on persons in situations of vulnerability and on the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on those sentences;
2) Training activities for judges, prosecutors, lawyers and probation officers;
3) The design and monitoring of a pilot project with a view to its dissemination to other Member States;
4) Drafting of proposals for reform or for adoption of best practices.
The findings of the project were presented at a Europe-wide conference.
The project was coordinated by Penal Reform International – a non-governmental organisation working globally to promote fair criminal justice systems that uphold human rights for all –, partnered with the Institute for Legal Research of the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.