I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
1. Fundamental aims
1.1 The present Standard Minimum Rules provide a set of basic principles
to promote the use of non-custodial measures, as well as minimum safeguards
for persons subject to alternatives to imprisonment.
1.2 The Rules are intended to promote greater community involvement
in the management of criminal justice, specifically in the treatment of
offenders, as well as to promote among offenders a sense of responsibility
1.3 The Rules shall be implemented taking into account the political,
economic, social and cultural conditions of each country and the aims and
objectives of its criminal justice system.
1.4 When implementing the Rules, Member States shall endeavour to ensure
a proper balance between the rights of individual offenders, the rights
of victims, and the concern of society for public safety and crime prevention.
1.5 Member States shall develop non-custodial measures within their
legal systems to provide other options, thus reducing the use of imprisonment,
and to rationalize criminal justice policies, taking into account the observance
of human rights, the requirements of social justice and the rehabilitation
needs of the offender.
2. The scope of non-custodial measures
2.1 The relevant provisions of the present Rules shall be applied to
all persons subject to prosecution, trial or the execution of a sentence,
at all stages of the administration of criminal justice. For the purposes
of the Rules, these persons are referred to as "offenders", irrespective
of whether they are suspected, accused or sentenced.
2.2 The Rules shall be applied without any discrimination on the grounds
of race, colour, sex, age, language, religion, political or other opinion,
national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
2.3 In order to provide greater flexibility consistent with the nature
and gravity of the offence, with the personality and background of the
offender and with the protection of society and to avoid unnecessary use
of imprisonment, the criminal justice system should provide a wide range
of non-custodial measures, from pre-trial to post-sentencing dispositions.
The number and types of non-custodial measures available should be determined
in such a way so that consistent sentencing remains possible.
2.4 The development of new non-custodial measures should be encouraged
and closely monitored and their use systematically evaluated.
2.5 Consideration shall be given to dealing with offenders in the community
avoiding as far as possible resort to formal proceedings or trial by a
court, in accordance with legal safeguards and the rule of law.
2.6 Non-custodial measures should be used in accordance with the principle
of minimum intervention.
2.7 The use of non-custodial measures should be part of the movement
towards depenalization and decriminalization instead of interfering with
or delaying efforts in that direction.
3. Legal safeguards
3.1 The introduction, definition and application of non-custodial measures
shall be prescribed by law.
3.2 The selection of a non-custodial measure shall be based on an assessment
of established criteria in respect of both the nature and gravity of the
offence and the personality, background of the offender, the purposes of
sentencing and the rights of victims.
3.3 Discretion by the judicial or other competent independent authority
shall be exercised at all stages of the proceedings by ensuring full accountability
and only in accordance with the rule of law.
3.4 Non-custodial measures imposing an obligation on the offender, applied
before or instead of formal proceedings or trial , shall require the offender's
3.5 Decisions on the imposition of non-custodial measures shall be subject
to review by a judicial or other competent independent authority, upon
application by the offender.
3.6 The offender shall be entitled to make a request or complaint to
a judicial or other competent independent authority on matters affecting
his or her individual rights in the implementation of non-custodial measures.
3.7 Appropriate machinery shall be provided for the recourse and, if
possible, redress of any grievance related to non-compliance with internationally
recognized human rights.
3.8 Non-custodial measures shall not involve medical or psychological
experimentation on, or undue risk of physical or mental injury to, the
3.9 The dignity of the offender subject to non-custodial measures shall
be protected at all times.
3.10 In the implementation of non-custodial measures, the offender's
rights shall not be restricted further than was authorized by the competent
authority that rendered the original decision.
3.11 In the application of non-custodial measures, the offender's right
to privacy shall be respected, as shall be the right to privacy of the
3.12 The offender's personal records shall be kept strictly confidential
and closed to third parties. Access to such records shall be limited to
persons directly concerned with the disposition of the offender's case
or to other duly authorized persons.
4. Saving clause
4.1 Nothing in these Rules shall be interpreted as precluding the application
of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the United
Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice,
the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form
of Detention or Imprisonment or any other human rights instruments and
standards recognized by the international community and relating to the
treatment of offenders and the protection of their basic human rights.
II. PRE-TRIAL STAGE
5. Pre-trial dispositions
5.1 Where appropriate and compatible with the legal system, the police,
the prosecution service or other agencies dealing with criminal cases should
be empowered to discharge the offender if they consider that it is not
necessary to proceed with the case for the protection of society, crime
prevention or the promotion of respect for the law and the rights of victims.
For the purpose of deciding upon the appropriateness of discharge or determination
of proceedings, a set of established criteria shall be developed within
each legal system. For minor cases the prosecutor may impose suitable noncustodial
measures, as appropriate.
6. Avoidance of pre-trial detention
6.1 Pre-trial detention shall be used as a means of last resort in criminal
proceedings, with due regard for the investigation of the alleged offence
and for the protection of society and the victim.
6.2 Alternatives to pre-trial detention shall be employed at as early
a stage as possible. Pre-trial detention shall last no longer than necessary
to achieve the objectives stated under rule 5.1 and shall be administered
humanely and with respect for the inherent dignity of human beings.
6.3 The offender shall have the right to appeal to a judicial or other
competent independent authority in cases where pre-trial detention is employed.
III. TRIAL AND SENTENCING STAGE
7. Social inquiry reports
7.1 If the possibility of social inquiry reports exists, the judicial
authority may avail itself of a report prepared by a competent, authorized
official or agency . The report should contain social information on the
offender that is relevant to the person's pattern of offending and current
offences. It should also contain information and recommendations that are
relevant to the sentencing procedure. The report shall be factual, objective
and unbiased, with any expression of opinion clearly identified.
8. Sentencing dispositions
8.1 The judicial authority, having at its disposal a range of noncustodial
measures, should take into consideration in making its decision the rehabilitative
needs of the offender, the protection of society and the interests of the
victim, who should be consulted whenever appropriate.
8.2 Sentencing authorities may dispose of cases in the following ways:
(a) Verbal sanctions, such as admonition, reprimand and warning;
(b) Conditional discharge;
(c) Status penalties;
(d) Economic sanctions and monetary penalties, such as fines and day-fines;
(e) Confiscation or an expropriation order;
(f) Restitution to the victim or a compensation order;
(g) Suspended or deferred sentence;
(h) Probation and judicial supervision;
(i) A community service order;
(j) Referral to an attendance centre;
(k) House arrest;
(l) Any other mode of non-institutional treatment;
(m) Some combination of the measures listed above.
IV. POST-SENTENCING STAGE
9. Post-sentencing dispositions
9.1 The competent authority shall have at its disposal a wide range
of post-sentencing alternatives in order to avoid institutionalization
and to assist offenders in their early reintegration into society.
9.2 Post-sentencing dispositions may include:
(a) Furlough and half-way houses;
(b) Work or education release;
(c) Various forms of parole;
9.3 The decision on post-sentencing dispositions, except in the case
of pardon, shall be subject to review by a judicial or other competent
independent authority, upon application of the offender.
9.4 Any form of release from an institution to a non-custodial programme
shall be considered at the earliest possible stage.
V. IMPLEMENTATION OF NON-CUSTODIAL MEASURES
10.1 The purpose of supervision is to reduce reoffending and to assist
the offender's integration into society in a way which minimizes the likelihood
of a return to crime.
10.2 If a non-custodial measure entails supervision, the latter shall
be carried out by a competent authority under the specific conditions prescribed
10.3 Within the framework of a given non-custodial measure, the most
suitable type of supervision and treatment should be determined for each
individual case aimed at assisting the offender to work on his or her offending.
Supervision and treatment should be periodically reviewed and adjusted
10.4 Offenders should, when needed, be provided with psychological,
social and material assistance and with opportunities to strengthen links
with the community and facilitate their reintegration into society.
1 1. Duration
11.1 The duration of a non-custodial measure shall not exceed the period
established by the competent authority in accordance with the law.
11.2 Provision may be made for early termination of the measure if the
offender has responded favourably to it.
12.1 If the competent authority shall determine the conditions to be
observed by the offender, it should take into account both the needs of
society and the needs and rights of the offender and the victim.
12.2 The conditions to be observed shall be practical, precise and as
few as possible, and be aimed at reducing the likelihood of an offender
relapsing into criminal behaviour and of increasing the offender's chances
of social integration, taking into account the needs of the victim.
12.3 At the beginning of the application of a non-custodial measure,
the offender shall receive an explanation, orally and in writing, of the
conditions governing the application of the measure, including the offender's
obligations and rights.
12.4 The conditions may be modified by the competent authority under
the established statutory provisions, in accordance with the progress made
by the offender.
13. Treatment process
13.1 Within the framework of a given non-custodial measure, in appropriate
cases, various schemes, such as case-work, group therapy, residential programmes
and the specialized treatment of various categories of offenders, should
be developed to meet the needs of offenders more effectively.
13.2 Treatment should be conducted by professionals who have suitable
training and practical experience.
13.3 When it is decided that treatment is necessary, efforts should
be made to understand the offender's background, personality, aptitude,
intelligence, values and, especially, the circumstances leading to the
commission of the offence.
13.4 The competent authority may involve the community and social support
systems in the application of non-custodial measures.
13.5 Case-load assignments shall be maintained as far as practicable
at a manageable level to ensure the effective implementation of treatment
13.6 For each offender, a case record shall be established and maintained
by the competent authority.
14. Discipline and breach of conditions
14.1 A breach of the conditions to be observed by the offender may result
in a modification or revocation of the non-custodial measure.
14.2 The modification or revocation of the non-custodial measure shall
be made by the competent authority; this shall be done only after a careful
examination of the facts adduced by both the supervising officer and the
14.3 The failure of a non-custodial measure should not automatically
lead to the imposition of a custodial measure.
14.4 In the event of a modification or revocation of the non-custodial
measure, the competent authority shall attempt to establish a suitable
alternative non-custodial measure. A sentence of imprisonment may be imposed
only in the absence of other suitable alternatives.
14.5 The power to arrest and detain the offender under supervision in
cases where there is a breach of the conditions shall be prescribed by
14.6 Upon modification or revocation of the non-custodial measure, the
offender shall have the right to appeal to a judicial or other competent
15.1 There shall be no discrimination in the recruitment of staff on
the grounds of race, colour, sex, age, language, religion, political or
other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
The policy regarding staff recruitment should take into consideration national
policies of affirmative action and reflect the diversity of the offenders
to be supervised.
15.2 Persons appointed to apply non-custodial measures should be personally
suitable and, whenever possible, have appropriate professional training
and practical experience. Such qualifications shall be clearly specified.
15.3 To secure and retain qualified professional staff, appropriate
service status, adequate salary and benefits commensurate with the nature
of the work should be ensured and ample opportunities should be provided
for professional growth and career development.
16. Staff training
16.1 The objective of training shall be to make clear to staff their
responsibilities with regard to rehabilitating the offender, ensuring the
offender's rights and protecting society. Training should also give staff
an understanding of the need to cooperate in and coordinate activities
with the agencies concerned.
16.2 Before entering duty, staff shall be given training that includes
instruction on the nature of non-custodial measures, the purposes of supervision
and the various modalities of the application of non-custodial measures.
16.3 After entering duty, staff shall maintain and improve their knowledge
and professional capacity by attending in-service training and refresher
courses. Adequate facilities shall be made available for that purpose.
VII. VOLUNTEERS AND OTHER COMMUNITY RESOURCES
17. Public participation
17.1 Public participation should be encouraged as it is a major resource
and one of the most important factors in improving ties between offenders
undergoing non-custodial measures and the family and community. It should
complement the efforts of the criminal justice administration.
17.2 Public participation should be regarded as an opportunity for members
of the community to contribute to the protection of their society.
18. Public understanding and cooperation
18.1 Government agencies, the private sector and the general public
should be encouraged to support voluntary organizations that promote noncustodial
18.2 Conferences, seminars, symposia and other activities should be
regularly organized to stimulate awareness of the need for public participation
in the application of non-custodial measures.
18.3 All forms of the mass media should be utilized to help to create
a constructive public attitude, leading to activities conducive to a broader
application of non-custodial treatment and the social integration of offenders.
18.4 Every effort should be made to inform the public of the importance
of its role in the implementation of non-custodial measures.
19.1 Volunteers shall be carefully screened and recruited on the basis
of their aptitude for and interest in the work involved. They shall be
properly trained for the specific responsibilities to be discharged by
them and shall have access to support and counselling from, and the opportunity
to consult with, the competent authority.
19.2 Volunteers should encourage offenders and their families to develop
meaningful ties with the community and a broader sphere of contact by providing
counselling and other appropriate forms of assistance according to their
capacity and the offenders' needs.
19.3 Volunteers shall be insured against accident, injury and public
liability when carrying out their duties. They shall be reimbursed for
authorized expenditures incurred in the course of their work. Public recognition
should be extended to them for the services they render for the well-being
of the community.
VIII. RESEARCH, PLANNING, POLICY FORMULATION AND EVALUATION
20. Research and planning
20.1 As an essential aspect of the planning process, efforts should
be made to involve both public and private bodies in the organization and
promotion of research on the non-custodial treatment of offenders.
20.2 Research on the problems that confront clients, practitioners,
the community and policy-makers should be carried out on a regular basis.
20.3 Research and information mechanisms should be built into the criminal
justice system for the collection and analysis of data and statistics on
the implementation of non-custodial treatment for offenders.
21. Policy formulation and programme development
21.1 Programmes for non-custodial measures should be systematically
planned and implemented as an integral part of the criminal justice system
within the national development process.
21.2 Regular evaluations should be carried out with a view to implementing
non-custodial measures more effectively .
21.3 Periodic reviews should be concluded to assess the objectives,
functioning and effectiveness of non-custodial measures.
22. Linkages with relevant agencies and activities
22.1 Suitable mechanisms should be evolved at various levels to facilitate
the establishment of linkages between services responsible for noncustodial
measures, other branches of the criminal justice system, social development
and welfare agencies, both governmental and non-governmental, in such fields
as health, housing, education and labour, and the mass media.
23. International cooperation
23.1 Efforts shall be made to promote scientific cooperation between
countries in the field of non-institutional treatment. Research, training,
technical assistance and the exchange of information among Member States
on non-custodial measures should be strengthened, through the United Nations
institutes for the prevention of crime and the treatment of offenders,
in close collaboration with the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch
of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the United
23.2 Comparative studies and the harmonization of legislative provisions
should be furthered to expand the range of non-institutional options and
facilitate their application across national frontiers, in accordance with
the Model Treaty on the Transfer of Supervision of Offenders Conditionally
Sentenced or Conditionally Released.