The Alternatives to Short-Term Criminal Penalties as a Reform and Rehabilitation Mechanism in the Context of Contemporary Criminal Policy: the Penalty of Community Service as a Model

Dr. Naseegha Faisal
Associate Professor of Criminal Law – School of Law and Political Science- University of Biskra Algeria


The issue of alternatives to custodial penalties is one of the most controversial issues in modern criminal policy because of its direct impact on the convicted person, especially since it is not achieving its purpose, as the individual, who was previously a good citizen, might become a criminal after entering the penal institution. Due to the importance of this subject, many international conferences have been held to deal with it since the beginning of the 19th century, with the aim of restricting the use of prison to a minimum, especially when such penalty is inflicted on juveniles or persons who are subject to a short-term custodial penalty.
The first among these conferences is the Third International Prison Congress in Rome in 1885, after which international conferences followed. Local conferences followed this idea, such as the First Congress on Combating Crime in the Arab Republic of Egypt in Cairo in 1961, which recommended the abolition of the short-term imprisonment not exceeding three months and replacing it with alternative penalties.
The same issue was discussed in the Protection of Human Rights in the Criminal Procedure Laws of the Arab World in Cairo from 6 to 20 December 1989 with the recommendation of excluding this penalty as it does not provide the convicted with the rehabilitation he/she is entitled to, and that it needs to be replaced with appropriate alternatives. This matter has been adopted by the Algerian legislator in the Penal Code Article 5 bis, where the community services penalty was adopted as an alternative to short-term custodial penalties. Therefore, the main problematic of this research is the role of these alternatives in rehabilitating and reforming the persons convicted with a short-term penalty.

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