Fewer Prison Sentences

More Prison Time

More Prison Time

Increasingly more often, instead of passing suspended sentences, courts in Poland opt for alternative solutions, such as banning people convicted of fraud from conducting any form of business. The policy of Polish courts is shifting: there are fewer prison sentences of 5-8 years and more of 8-15 years. There are also fewer pronouncements of more severe punishments; while just a decade ago, courts passed 44 sentences of life imprisonment, last year only 12 such sentences were pronounced. Also, the number of people sentenced to 25 years in prison has fallen, from 133 to 49 in the same period. Prison sentences have been largely displaced by various bans; increasingly courts ban people from driving or holding particular positions. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of such alternative punishments increased from 33 to 255. These sentences are supposed to be more effective when dealing with perpetrators of minor offences. For many years, Poland was one of the leading countries in Europe as far as the number of suspended prison sentences was concerned. The widespread practice of pronouncing such sentences necessitated changes in law and judicial proceedings. Since 1 July 2015, preference is given to penalties and restrictions of liberty over custodial sentences. The change applies to offences punishable by up to 5 years in prison, such as theft, as well as offences subject to 5-8 years’ imprisonment, such as fraud.


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