Council of Europe report says number of probation sentences increases in Europe

NEWS 08.06.2021 12:14
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Source: Frederick Florin/AFP

The Council of Europe (CoE) said in a report on Tuesday that the number of probationary sentences for violations of the law was higher in 2020 than in earlier years with Serbia showing a rise of more than 30 percent.

“The number of persons subject to sanctions and measures which keep offenders in the community and do not deprive them of liberty grew by 3% in Europe from 2019 to 2020, according to the 2020 SPACE II annual survey, carried out for CoE by the University of Lausanne,” a press release said, adding that data for the report was provided by 29 probation agencies. The report said that the data reflects a trend “across Europe of community sanctions and measures such as electronic monitoring, community service, home arrest, treatments, semi-liberty or conditional release”.

It said that more than half of the countries which provided data showed increases in 2019 and 2020. “Ten of them registered significant increases: Serbia (34%), Azerbaijan (27%), Spain (State Administration) (15%), Slovenia (13%), Ireland (11%), Italy (10%), Lithuania (8.6%) Belgium (7.5%), Norway (7.3%) and Turkey (6.1%)… while eight experienced significant decreases: Armenia (47%), Bulgaria (22%), Greece (15%), Monaco (14%), Latvia (8.2%), Estonia (7.4%) and Switzerland (5.8%),” it added.

The administrations with the lowest rates correspond to two countries that started to use community sanctions and measures in the last decade: North Macedonia (6 probationers per 100,000 inhabitants) and Serbia (35), the report specified, adding that the incarceration rate in Serbia was higher than the rate of probationers.