Probation exists in the world for more than 200 years. In Ukraine it was created 5 years ago. What is the reason of such choice?
No doubts, that any criminal offense should result in the criminal punishment. In the minds of ordinary citizens such punishment has a strong association with imprisonment. However, international practice demonstrates a different approach to punishing people who have committed crimes and do not endanger lives and health of other people. Probation is the alternative to imprisonment. At various levels it proves the effectiveness, feasibility and usefulness for the offenders and the State as a whole.
Moreover, only while serving the sentence in the communities, offenders are not adversely affected by custody and have the opportunity to compensate the inflicted damages, as well as to prove to the communities, where they live, their usefulness and willingness to live without committing crimes. The benefits of the alternative sanctions for an offender are the family, social role, employment and housing preservation. Besides, proper assistance and support can be provided during the change and self-realization of the persons, who are in conflict with the law.
Probation provides the society with fair justice and security. For the State it saves the budget funds, because imprisonment of offenders is much more expensive. It also contributes to the prevention of the repeated crimes. Besides, it is the European way of development and worthy representation of the State at the international level.
The introduction of probation in Ukraine
Ukraine chose such way of the penitentiary system development in 2002. The introduction of probation in Ukraine was preceded by 15 years of learning the advanced experience of different countries and preparing the corresponding national legal framework. The European probation standards were taken into account and the Law of Ukraine “On probation” was adopted on February 5, 2015. Accordingly, probation in Ukraine is a system of supervision and social-educational measures applied to convicts by the court decision; execution of certain types of criminal punishments alternative to imprisonment; providing the courts with the information (pre-trial report) that characterizes the accused persons. The United Nations and the Council of Europe 15 standards, which are in the focus of the national probation system development at present.
The purpose of our probation system is to ensure the security of the society through correcting the convicts, preventing them from committing repeated offenses and promoting justice by providing the courts with the information that characterizes the accused persons and reveals the features of their way of life in order the courts take decisions about the level of the offenders’ responsibility, which is sufficient for the punishment and necessary for their correction.
Three types of probation
Three types (directions) of probation are established according to the Ukrainian legislation: pre-trial, supervisory and penitentiary. Thus, in Ukraine the probation clients (probation subjects) are the following persons: those, who are accused of committing crimes, and relevant pre-trial reports are provided to the courts; those, who are sentenced to imprisonment, but are put under the probation supervision to serve their sentences in the communities under special conditions; those, who are sentenced to the non-custodial sentences; those inmates, who are at the stage of preparing to be released from custody. At present, the probation is also involved in dealing with those persons who are subject to the administrative penalties (fine; ban on holding certain positions; sentences to the community service and correctional works).