Suspending re-offending? Comparing the effects of suspended prison sentences and short-term imprisonment on recidivism in the Netherlands



Pauline G.M. Aarten, Adriaan Denkers, Matthias J. Borgers, Peter H. van der Laan

European Journal of Criminology

November 2014




In the Netherlands, suspended sentences are increasingly imposed as alternatives to short-term imprisonment in an attempt to reduce recidivism. However, little research has been done to examine recidivism outcomes after suspended sentences. This study used official data on adult offenders sentenced to either fully suspended prison sentences or short-term imprisonment in the court districts of Amsterdam and The Hague (n = 2115). Using propensity score matching, no significant differences in the risk of reconviction between the two sentences were found. Regarding criminal history, first offenders given fully suspended prison sentences had a higher risk of being reconvicted than first offenders sentenced to short-term imprisonment. In contrast, recidivists sentenced to short-term imprisonment had a higher risk of being reconvicted.








Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee