Criminal justice

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In focus

In 2023 the number of juvenile convictions amounts to 23'080 cases. With 102'822 entries in the criminal register in 2023, the number of convictions decreased compared with the previous year (-1,4%).

Conditional financial penalties continued  to be the most common sentence (70%) in 2023. A total of 1 974 expulsions were issued in 2023. An expulsion was pronounced for 58% of convictions due to offences for which the legislator provides for compulsory expulsion.

At a glance

Adults

Key figures for adult criminal justice, 2023

 

Convictions

Convicted
persons

Total1

102 822

92 638

By sex

   

male

*

75 702

female

*

16 936

By act

   

by SCC

38 108

33 428

by RTA

52 835

50 435

by NarcA (drug dealing)

3 885

3 734

by FNIA

16 244

14 234

Main sanction2

   

Custodial sentence

14 631

*

of which suspended

6 322

*

Monetary penalty

87 948

*

of which suspended

71 644

*

Single Fine

95

*

Single measure

60

*

Source: Criminal conviction statistics (SUS), state of the Register of Criminal Conduct: 06.05.2024

Impact of sanctions law reforms on practice

The penalty system has undergone far-reaching reforms over the last few decades. In the 2007 reform, the aim was to reduce prison sentences of less than 6 months (suspended and unsuspended). These were to be replaced by fines and community service. In the 2018 counter-reform, the aim was to reintroduce short custodial sentences in their entirety. In a publication, the FSO has assessed whether the objectives set by the legislator have been achieved by analyzing the impact of these reforms on judicial practice and the execution of sentences.

Publication to be downloaded in German or in French

Juveniles

Key figures for juvenile, 2023

 

Convictions

Convicted persons

Persons in
external
placement

Total

23 080

19 292

996

By sex

     

male

*

14 542

916

female

*

4 748

80

By act

     

by SCC

8 528

7 705

*

by RTA

5 857

5 470

*

by NarcA

2 506

2 272

*

Main sanction3

     

Custodial sentence

1 072

*

*

of which suspended

625

*

*

Personal work

6 562

*

*

of which suspended

906

*

*

Fine

5 907

*

*

Caution

8 901

*

*

Single measure

14

*

*

Exemption from punishment

596

*

*

Source: Statistics on criminal convictions and enforcement of juvenile sanctions (JUSAS), state of the database: 16.05.2024

¹ For adults only felonies and misdemeanours are included, because contraventions are only recorded in the register of convictions as an exception.
² One main sanction is established per verdict and this is the only one shown in the table. For this reason sanctions are ranked according to their severity and only the most severe sanction is shown. A custodial sentence is considered to be the most severe sanction for minors, followed by personal performance, fines, cautions and lastly exemption from punishment. For adults, custodial sentence is considered to be the most severe sanction, followed by financial penalties, fines and measures.
³ For juvenile convictions felonies, misdemeanours and contraventions are taken into account.


SCC: Swiss Criminal Code
RTA: Road Traffic Act
NarcA: Narcotics Act
FNIA: Foreign Nationals and Integration Act

The statistics on criminal convictions and enforcement of juvenile sanctions (JUSAS) and the conviction statistics (adults) allow analyses to be made by conviction and by convicted persons. In addition to providing details on convicted persons, information is available on the offences and on the pronounced sanctions.

The JUSAS record since 2020 all juvenile sentences that have been pronounced on the basis of criminal offences under the Criminal Code or other federal laws with criminal provisions for a violation of any federal law containing criminal provisions. In addition, in the JUSAS, all stays in an institution or in a penal facility are recorded statistically if they were ordered under the juvenile criminal law.
These include pre-trial detention, precautionary protective measures (institutional observation, open or closed placement), protective measures stated in the judgment (open or closed placement) and imprisonment. In the course of the criminal investigation and the completion of sanctions, a placed person can have the type of placement changed. The evaluations cover one year and identify each person once for each type of placement. Figures from the juvenile conviction statistics (JUSUS) are available for the years 1999-2019 and are limited to the juvenile sentences according to the most important laws.

The conviction statistics (SUS) shows all convictions of adults recorded in the register of convictions which were pronounced on the basis of a felony or misdemeanour. Contraventions are not taken into account as these are only rarely entered in the register of convictions. The conviction statistics has existed in its present form since 1984.

Further information

Tables

Selection: Tables on total of convicted persons

Selection: Tables relative to the main laws

Selection: Tables relative to the sanctions

Graphs

Publications

Publication to be downloaded in German

Publication to be downloaded in French

Press releases

Statistical sources and concepts

On this topic

Convictions of adults

Number of adult convictions per year. Detailed information is available on the laws and the individual offences since 1984.

Convicted adults

Information on age, sex and nationality have been presented per law and offence in detail since 1984. This statistical information are available at national and in almost all cases at cantonal level.

Sanctions of adults

Information on penalties, measures and pre-trial detention have been made available since 1984.

Convictions of juveniles

The annual figures for juvenile convictions. Detailed information is available on the laws and the individual offences since 1999.

Juveniles convicted

Information on age, sex and nationality have been presented per law and offence in detail since 1999. This statistical information are available at national and in almost all cases at cantonal level.

Penalties for juveniles - Measures of protection

Information on penalties and measures has been available since 1999.

Juveniles placed annually

All stays in an institution or in a penal institution since 2020.

Juveniles placed on reference day

Population of juveniles in placement under criminal law since 2010.

Contact

Federal Statistical Office Section Crime and Criminal Justice
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel
Switzerland

Contact

Remark

Our English pages offer only a limited range of information on our statistical production. For our full range please consult our pages in French and German (top right hand screen).

https://www.bfs.admin.ch/content/bfs/en/home/statistics/crime-criminal-justice/criminal-justice.html