Recall to prison in Belgium: Back-end sentencing in search of reintegration

Kristel Beyens, Lars Breuls, Lana De Pelecijn, Marijke Roosen, Veerle Scheirs

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Abstract

In recent years, the United States and England and Wales have witnessed growing re-incarceration rates. This growth is not only due to the courts sending more people to prison (‘front-end sentencing’), but also due to an increasing number of revocations of early release measures, mainly following technical violations of licence conditions (so called ‘back-end sentencing’). However, it is unclear whether the same phenomenon exists in other (European) countries. Therefore, we empirically studied prison recall decision-making processes in Belgium by file analysis, complemented with focus groups with the decision-makers involved in the recall process of prisoners with a sentence of more than three years. We found that the recall process in Belgium is embedded in a strong narrative of ‘giving chances’ and that all decision-makers deploy a large amount of discretion, which they use to make deliberate decisions in an attempt to facilitate parolees’ reintegration process. Non-compliance with imposed conditions does not automatically lead to recall and even when a parolee is sent back to prison, recall is framed by the decision-makers as a step in the reintegration process, not the end of it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-25
Number of pages20
JournalProbation Journal
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Research Council of Flanders (FWO) (Nr. G0B7214 N, ‘Back-end sentencing’. Exploring decision-making processes and practices of recall to prison, promoter Kristel Beyens. The empirical research was conducted by Lars Breuls, Lana De Pelecijn, and Veerle Scheirs).

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Research Council of Flanders (FWO) (Nr. G0B7214 N, ?Back-end sentencing?. Exploring decision-making processes and practices of recall to prison, promoter Kristel Beyens. The empirical research was conducted by Lars Breuls, Lana De Pelecijn, and Veerle Scheirs).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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