Monitoring sentence is a new sanction form, which was introduced in Finland on 1 November 2011. Offenders serving a monitoring sentence live at home but they are monitored during the sentence with the help of both electronic equipment and other means.
In the criminal sanctions system, the monitoring sentence is placed between community service and unconditional imprisonment. It is used to replace part of short unconditional prison sentences and it can be six months long at most. The guideline is that the monitoring sentence can be imposed if it is regarded to promote the offender’s social coping and contribute to the prevention of further offences. Possible prior unconditional prison sentences and the nature of the offence may prevent from passing a monitoring sentence. In addition, the monitoring sentence requires that the dwelling place of the sentenced offender is suitable for the enforcement of the sentence and that the people living in the same place give their consent it.
Sentenced offenders serving a monitoring sentence are obliged to follow the daily programme approved in the enforcement plan. Based on the plan, the daily programme can consist of work, education, rehabilitation, activity programmes or other activity promoting the state of affairs of the sentenced offender.
The sentenced offenders are obliged to stay in their approved dwelling if they do not have a reason determined in the enforcement plan to leave the dwelling. The sentenced offenders are allowed to move outside their dwelling place only in a specified area. The monitoring sentence also requires a total prohibition of the use of intoxicating substances. In addition to technical monitoring, the authorities supervise the serving of the sentence by visiting the sentenced offenders’ dwelling and workplace without informing them about it beforehand. The abstinence from substances is supervised with the help of breath and drug tests when needed.
A continuous or serious breach of the conditions of the monitoring sentence leads to the sentence being converted into unconditional imprisonment.