The new generation of community penalties in Belgium: More is less...

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter analyses the narratives and practices of community punishment in Belgium at different levels, that is, policy and legislation, application and operation. Having conducted sentencing research on the custody threshold (Beyens 2000a) and having been involved in research into the implementation of both the work penalty (Luypaert et al. 2007) and electronic monitoring (EM) (Devresse et al. 2006; Beyens and Roosen 2013, 2015), I will focus on these two penalties to tell the Belgian story of community punishment. They can be regarded as illustrations of what Bottoms et al. (2004) have identified as the ‘new generation of community penalties’, characterized by a focus on a punishing rhetoric, a growing reliance on technology to enforce the requirements, the introduction of new public management techniques, the contracting out of responsibilities to other bodies and inter-agency cooperation and partnership (Bottoms et al. 2004). I will reflect on how these features connect with the adaptation strategies that have been identified by Robinson et al. (2013) and discussed in the introduction to this volume. The emergence of the work penalty and EM will be situated in a broader political context and their acceptance will be compared with earlier community-oriented penal interventions, such as probation and suspended sentences. I will argue that the development of the new generation of community penalties is deeply rooted in the problem of the ever-increasing prison overcrowding and the search for a solution to the prison crisis. I will show how initial rehabilitative narratives and practices of the work penalty and EM have been reframed under the pressures of increasing numbers, managerial objectives and budgetary considerations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunity Punishment
Subtitle of host publicationEuropean perspectieven
EditorsGwen Robinson, Fergus McNeill
Place of PublicationLondon and NY
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print) 9781138818644
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Community punishment
  • European perspectives
  • Belgium
  • elektronic monitoring

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