1. Sanctions


The members of the thematic group Sanctions study the entire range of judicial sanctions that restrain offenders’ freedom. Besides research on imprisonment as the most extreme form of deprivation of liberty, attention is being paid to less restrictive sanctions like restraining orders, stadium bans, expulsions from a profession, community service, probation supervision, and electronic monitoring.
Anja Dirkzwager
Anja Dirkzwager

This thematic group not only concentrates on the offenders who experience these various types of restrains, but also on the different actors within the criminal as well as the civil and administrative justice system who impose and execute these sanctions (e.g. public prosecutors, judges, prison staff, probation officers, inspectorates, and other local and administrative authorities).

Research topics in Sanctions

The research program focuses on the determinants, execution, and consequences of sanctions. More specifically, the members of this thematic group examine topics like the determinants of sentencing, why (criminal) justice actors and other authorities impose sanctions on offenders in specific circumstances, and how those sentenced perceive their punishment. Furthermore, an important research line within this cluster deals with the intended and unintended effects of imprisonment and other restraining sanctions (e.g. probation supervision and community service) on future criminal behaviour as well as on other life-course outcomes (like labour market prospects, financial situation, health, social networks, and offenders’ partners and children).

Theoretical perspectives

This thematic group employs normative theories on why societies impose such sanctions and how ideas regarding sentencing change over time. Furthermore, Bonta’s What Works approach in combination with the Good Lives Model as well as Deterrence and Procedural Justice theories are applied to explain the (absence of) effectiveness of sanctions on further criminal behavior and other important life domains. The life-course perspective will help to disentangle and understand the interrelationships between these life domains, and their link with criminal behaviour.

Data sources

The thematic group uses a variety of data, such as registered data on offenders’ criminal behaviour and on decisions of criminal justice actors, survey data, data from structured and in depth interviews, data from participating observation, and field experiments. By combining different theoretical perspectives and using different research methods, the research of this thematic group will enhance current knowledge on the aims, execution, and effects of freedom restraining sanctions.

Experts on this theme

Prof. Anja Dirkzwager

Senior Researcher

Prof. Arjan Blokland

Senior Researcher

Dr Barbora Holá LLM

Senior Researcher

Dr Steve van de Weijer

Senior Researcher

Prof. Marijke Malsch LL.M.

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Elanie Rodermond


Franziska Yasrebi-de Kom MSc

PhD Candidate

Beatriz Mayans LLM

PhD Candidate

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