Judges’ and defence solicitors’ views on the work penalty : how different are they?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


In Belgium, community service was introduced in 1994 as a condition of probation. In 2002 it was 'upgraded' to a so called 'autonomous work penalty'. This changed legal position, from a condition that could only be imposed in combination with another sentence, to an autonomous and full sentence, entailed a remarkable increase in the use of this sentencing option.
Trying to understand this evolution, this paper will first describe some general penal decision making mechanisms which can be regarded as being of influence with regard to the imposition of the work penalty in Belgium. Attention will be paid to legal, judicial, organizational and cultural factors that shape sentencing practices.
Secondly this paper will focus on the knowledge and views of defence solicitors on the work penalty. Which cases do they regard as being suitable for a work penalty and which factors are considered as being counterproductive? To what extend do the views and arguments of defence solicitors differ from or match with the judges' views on the suitability of the work penalty in particular cases? And what's their possible impact on the sentencing process?
This paper is based on findings and insights from three different empirical studies with judges and one study with defence solicitors in Belgium.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaper presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Criminology, Vilnius, Estland, September 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventUnknown -
Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …


Period1/01/11 → …


  • sentencing
  • judges


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