Implementation of community sanctions
Community sanctions, which are served in freedom, are a significant part of the sentence enforcement system.
In the Finnish community sanction work, the duties of the Criminal Sanctions Agency include both control tasks, such as intervention in breaches during the enforcement, and interactive work, the aims of which is to influence recidivism together with the client. Additionally, the client is assisted in getting the services he or she needs from society, for example substance rehabilitation. Mere authoritative work is not always enough nor does it attach a person to the community.
It is often useful to involve the civil society in the community sanction work. The workplaces of both the public administration and the private organisations offer community service clients service places where an offender serving a sentence may for the first time in his or her life experience success in completing a task or belonging to a work community.
Especially in sparsely populated areas far away from the nearest community sanctions offices, it is difficult to create a functional and interactive relationship with the client. In Finland, the implementation of community sanctions involves many private persons who are willing to work as assistant or private supervisors of sentenced offenders in this type of situations. The assistant supervisors represent the normal community and, for their part, can support the client’s aspiration to complete the sentence and avoid reoffending in future.
On average, over 3000 clients serve community sanctions daily and their age distribution varies from 15 year-old teenagers to mature seniors released from prison. The Criminal Sanctions Agency has 15 community sanctions offices and 11 other local units around the country, which carry out the enforcement of community sanctions. The offices employ nearly 300 people. The involvement of other public bodies, organisations, and private persons in the enforcement of community sanctions is both part of the nature of the work and a precondition for its success.