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Probation and Probation Services in the EU accession countries


Edited by: Anton M. van Kalmthout, Jenny Roberts and Sandra Vinding.
ISBN: 90-5850-050-0.


The recent political and societal changes in Central and Eastern Europe also have far-reaching consequences for the rule of law and criminal justice in countries that, until recently, were within the sphere of influence of the former Soviet Union. In the countries that are candidates for EU membership, radical reforms of criminal law and criminal procedure are taking place. To a great extent, these reforms also concern the sanctions systems. For many decades, criminal justice in these countries has been characterised
by an excess of long, unconditional prison sentences, overcrowded
and badly equipped prisons, and little attention for human rights.
We now witness an increasing trend towards individualisation and
humanisation of criminal law and the determination of penalty.
This has led to the introduction of and experimenting with numerous new non-custodial sanctions and measures in the pretrial and post-trial phases, such as community service, electronic monitoring, victimoffender mediation, day fines, controlled freedom, supervision and attendance orders, and special cognitivebehaviour-oriented learning and training programmes. This shift in thinking about criminal justice, punishment and the treatment of offenders also stresses the importance of an organisation like Probation Service that, by preparing social enquiry reports to the courts, by supervising and supporting offenders and by organising, managing and controlling the alternative sanctions, may play a central role in the humanisation and reform of criminal justice.

This study describes the sanctions system and the development of
the Probation Service in eight future EU countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovenia. The structure of this study is the same as the book
previously published by this publisher: Probation and Probation
Services: A European Perspective. These two studies together offer
a detailed overview of criminal justice, sanctions systems and
probation services in Western, Central and Eastern Europe.