The use and evaluation of Social Enquiry Reports by Belgian penal judges

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

Abstract

Based on the results of a multi-method research (survey research, semi - structured interviews and focus groups), this paper focuses on the use and evaluation of social enquiry reports (SERs) by penal judges. In Belgium, penal judges can ask for a SER assessing the opportunity and feasibility of community-based sanctions, such as probation or community service. These SERs are written by 'justice assistants' (probation officers) examining the feasibility of a non-custodial sanction and informing sentencers about the psychological and social background of the offender. This paper focuses on the use and evaluation of SERs by penal judges. When and why do judges demand for a SER? Which information do they think is relevant and how do they evaluate the information provided by the justice assistants? On the other hand we will emphasize briefly on the intentions of the report writers. What did they intended to convey? Through the combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods we achieved a better understanding of the conditions in which SERs are demanded (or not demanded) and of the way judges interpret and evaluate the information provided in these reports.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Society of Criminology conference 2008, 'Criminology in the public sphere'
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2008
EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009

Conference

ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period21/09/0925/09/09

Keywords

  • Social inquery

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