'It could be us': recent transformations in the use of community service as a punishment in spain

  • Ester Blay (Law Department Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, ester.blay@upf.edu)

Community service orders, or work for the benefit of the community orders, were introduced in Spanish legislation with the 1995 Criminal Code. Its practical use was until recently scant, and has since 2008 exploded in numerical terms. After describing the legal framework and aims of this sanction, this paper focuses on recent developments in the use of this penalty and in implementation and supervision practices. It draws from analysis of Parliamentary debates, sentences passed by judges, official statistics and other official documents, and interviews with judges, public prosecutors, supervisors and senior civil servants responsible for implementation.

Keywords: Work for the benefit of the community, Community Service Orders, Alternatives to custody

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