by Xavier DE LARMINAT – may 2011


Xavier DE LARMINAT is preparing his doctoral thesis at the CESDIP and working as Temporary Teaching and Research Attaché (ATER) in political science at the University Versailles-Saint-Quentin. He discusses some of his findings on sentence-serving within the community.


For the criminal justice system, measures and sanctions are said to be « within the community » when they are enforced « outside prison walls » but require some form of control. In that sense, the community differs both from prison and from sentences requiring no supervision, such as simple suspended sentences, sanctions of a monetary, material, or administrative nature (such as a fine, seizure of a vehicle, a suspended driving license). In France, the main measures involved here are suspended sentences under probation, community service orders, release on parole and social and judicial supervision. Other measures include arrangements such as electronic monitoring, semi-liberty and day-leave [1]. All are implemented by probation officers within the département-level [2] prison rehabilitation and probation services (SPIP).

[1] Both latter measures allow a convict to leave the prison to work, train, undergo medical treatment and more generally let him participate in any social activity meant to facilitate their rehabilitation. One difference is that in the case of day leave, they may receive night accommodation in another facility than a prison (an association for instance or even a relative).

[2] The département is one of the basic territorial division of the French administrative organisation.


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