Alternative punishments increasing since Penal Code was amended

‘The aim is to reform, rehabilitate, and reintegrate first-time offenders into society’

community service penalty
(Photo: Shutterstock)
AMMAN — Secretary General of the Jordanian Judicial Council Ali Al-Museimi said that since the ratification of the amendments to the Penal Code, which came into effect on June 24 this year, data shows an increase in the number of court rulings that impose alternatives to punishments.اضافة اعلان

“In the first six months of 2022, 414 sentences have been issued imposing alternative punishments,” Museimi told Jordan News, adding that they “increased to 2,002 by the end of September”.

According to Museimi, alternative sentencing for misdemeanors was introduced in the Penal Code in 2017; as such, “judges can rule on one or more alternative sanctions instead of custodial measures, the implementation of which is supervised by the Ministry of Justice”.

He noted that “the judiciary is moving toward a new approach in criminal justice based on reform and rehabilitation, rather than punishment. The aim is to reform, rehabilitate, and reintegrate first-time offenders into society”.

”One of the monitoring parameters used to ensure the effectiveness of the penalties is having a periodic reports assessing the impact of the sanction imposed on the behavior of the convict, and their rehabilitation.

“The Community Sanctions Directorate at the Ministry of Justice supervises and monitors the implementation of the sanction. Liaison officers are assigned by partner institutions to monitor the implementation of an alternative sanction through periodic reports to ensure the proper implementation thereof,” he added.

According to Museimi, the implementation of the non-custodial measures is based on social, economic, and psychological studies.

As such, “we must identify the cause of the crime, as well as the reason that prompted the perpetrator to commit the crime”, he added.

Museimi said that “the recent amendments to the Penal Code were based on the results of an impact assessment study on the implementation of community sanctions during 2017 to 2022, in which successes, obstacles, and challenges were identified and provided key recommendations formulated as part of the recently endorsed amendments”.

According to the amendments, the court has the authority to issue an alternative sanction for a case of misdemeanor, and in “felonies not against a person where a sentence is reduced to be one year”, he said, adding that the “we were given the authority for the first time in misdemeanors. Even if the judgment is final, and during the execution of misdemeanors, the court may replace the custodial penalty imposed with one or more of the alternative measures mentioned in the law”.

Museimi said that according to the amendments, “the four main categories of alternative sanctions that are currently in effect are community service, community monitoring, electronic monitoring, and banning the convict from visiting specific places for a period of time”.

According to him, “a well-researched and proper implementation of a comprehensive and integrated approach to alternative sanctions would maximize the benefit for society and avoid the negative impact of custodial measures”.

One of the main objectives of alternative sanctions is to reduce over-crowding in rehabilitation centers and lower the financial cost of in-mates, he said, stressing that “we need to work on finding long-term solutions and rehabilitation programs”.ag

Read more Features
Jordan News