Reducing the use of custody as a sanction: a review of recent international experiences

Julian Roberts

in Tackling prison overcrowding

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9781847421104
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303657 | DOI:
Reducing the use of custody as a sanction: a review of recent international experiences

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Constraining the rising prison population remains a challenge to most western countries. It has been 20 years since the United Nations Standard Rules for Non-Custodial Measure or the ‘Tokyo Rules’ were adopted. However, despite the Tokyo Rules' aim of reducing traditional reliance on imprisonment as a legal punishment, the prison population throughout the 1990s saw an unprecedented rise in many law jurisdictions. This chapter reviews and evaluates other strategies that have been implemented or proposed to control, regulate, and reduce the size of the prison population. It begins by summarising the trends with respect to the relative use of custody across jurisdictions. Then the chapter proceeds to discuss the disadvantages and advantages of the different strategies adopted over the years. It specifically looks into the remedial efforts that exist within the criminal-justice system. Most of the strategies examined in the chapter involve legislative intervention in the sphere of sentencing, wherein it is found that most of the legislature failed to embrace the responsibility of intervening in the sentencing process. The chapter concludes by summarising the steps that may comprise a successful integrated strategy.

Keywords: rising prison population; Tokyo Rules; imprisonment; legal punishment; prison population; use of custody; legislative intervention; sentencing

Chapter.  8915 words. 

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