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Alternatives to prison for drug offenders in Belgium during the past decade

  • Plettinckx, Els
  • Antoine, Jérôme
  • Gremeaux, Lies
  • Van Oyen, Herman
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2018.09.003
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Objective: Imprisonment has a more pronounced criminogenic effect on drug offenders than on other types of offenders. Additionally, little research has been conducted on the practical application of drug-related alternatives to prison. Therefore, this study describes drug-related alternatives to prison in Belgium over a ten years' period since 2005. Methods: The applied drug-related alternatives to prison ('probation', 'conditional release', 'mediation in criminal cases', 'community service' and 'electronic monitoring') were subject to a secondary data analysis of the database of the Houses of Justice. Results: Men, the age group of 16-24 years old and Belgians are most sentenced to alternatives to prison. Nevertheless, 38% of women are guided towards 'probation' while 8% is 'mediated in criminal cases' compared to 30% and 5% of males respectively (p < .001). 26% of non-Belgians are involved in 'conditional release' and 'electronic monitoring' compared to 22% and 16% among Belgians (p < .001) respectively. With regards to age, 21% of the offenders older than 24 years are involved in 'electronic monitoring' compared to 6% among the offenders younger than 25 years (p < .001). Conclusions: The results highlight differences in punishment judgments by age, gender and nationality that continues to be indicative for perceived threat, danger and culpability of the offenders.

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