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Workshop on alternatives to imprisonment


On 13 March 2014 the Center for the Study of Democracy held a workshop on alternatives to imprisonment in Barcelona, Spain, within the framework of the initiative ‘Re-socialisation of offenders in the EU: enhancing the role of the civil society (RE-SOC)’.

In her opening remarks, the guest speaker Ms Isabel Hernández, Team Coordinator for Barcelona South Alternative Penal Measures Area, Social Rehabilitation Institute (IRES), spoke about the implication of the civil society in the alternative measures enforcement in Barcelona. She briefed the participants about the activities of the IRES and described the organisation’s responsibilities in the area of enforcement of alternative measures.

Further, the participants of the workshop discussed the definition of alternatives to imprisonment. They agreed that not all non-custodial sanctions actually represent alternatives to imprisonment and should be analysed against the specific national background. As regards the scope of the definition, the participants agreed that suspended prison sentences and parole should also be considered as an alternative to imprisonment in addition to the non-custodial penalties. The participants also discussed the lack of adequate mechanisms to take into account the opinion of the people subjected to alternative measures when such measures are being evaluated. In this respect, the participants agreed that the study on alternatives to imprisonment should include a recommendation in the sense that alternative measures should also be evaluated taking into account the opinions and attitudes of the sentenced persons.

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