Community service in Belgium, the Netherlands, Scotland and Spain: a comparative perspective

Gill Mcivor, Kristel Beyens, Ester Blay, Miranda Boone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Current criminological research is particularly interested in the question whether or not we are witnessing a punitive turn and it seems that Western democracies today punish differently than a few decades ago. The 'new punitiveness' literature (Pratt, et. al., 2005) and David Garland's (2001) study on the culture of control have fuelled an ongoing debate and research on this question. There are however many ways to compare penal practices and measure punitiveness. Leading comparative research by Cavadino & Dignan (2006) for example relates variations in incarceration rates to contrasting kinds of political economy. However, punitiveness rankings vary substantially depending on the indicator used and ideally we have to take into account all of them to make sense of the assumed penal change. In this special issue we have focused on the use and implementation of community service and have focussed on its characteristics as a contemporary form of punishment. Through a detailed description of the different aspects of the rhetoric on and practice of community service, we aim to identify commonalities and local differences and attempt to understand and explain them. The question of increasing or decreasing punitiveness therefore is only one of our points of interest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-98
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Probation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • community service
  • comparative research
  • Belgium
  • Spain
  • Scotland
  • he Netherlands


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