Alternatives to imprisonment research presented at the Council of Europe

Head of the Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology, Professor Tony Beech, presented at the Council of Europe 7th meeting of the Committee of Experts on the reform of the Court.

Research conducted by Professor Tony Beech and Zoe Stephenson (Doctoral Researcher) into the alternatives to imprisonment used across Europe for sexual and violent offenders, offenders with drug/alcohol misuse issues, domestic violence offenders, and offenders with mental health issues was reported.

The research (now published on the Council of Europe website) involved collating responses from questionnaires obtained from 32 countries within the Council of Europe.  Research revealed that methods such as electronic tagging, community service, and treatment programmes were widely used in order to reduce the likelihood that an offender will commit a further offence without the need for the offender to be imprisoned for their crime.  The suggestion was made that communication between countries regarding the methods used could help improve current practice.  If methods found to be effective for reducing re-offending can be identified by certain countries it may be possible to create a knowledge base regarding effective practice in probation services which can be used to help inform practice for probation services across all countries within the Council of Europe.

The presentation was well received with many countries taking an interest in the findings and commenting on the importance of the report. 

View the research report on the Council of Europe website