Sanctions of adults

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

Sanctions for adults are: Custodial sentence, financial penalty, community service and fines. Thefollowing measures can be imposed: Indefinite incarceration and in and outpatient treatment of mental disorders or addictive behaviour. For young adults who were under 25 at the time of committing the offence, the Penal Code provides the possibility of placement in an institution for young adults.

Main sanctions, measures and pre-trial detention 2023
 

Adults1

Total convictions with main sanction2

102 822

Custodial sanction

14 631

unsuspended

7 630

partially suspended

679

suspended

6 322

Financial penalty

87 948

unsuspended

16 304

suspended

71 644

Fine only

95

Measures only

60

Verdicts with provisional pre-trial custody

19 305

of which up to 2 days

15 073

Total verdicts with measures

412

indefinite incarceration

0

inpatient measures

178

outpatient measures

225

Total expulsions

1 974

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. For adults, custodial sentence is considered to be the most severe sanction, followed by financial penalties, community service, fines and measures.
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

Expulsion under Art. 66a SCC

The statistics on criminal convictions of the Federal Bureau of Statistics are elaborated based on the entries of the final convictions in the Swiss Convictions Register (VOSTRA). Expulsion is recorded in VOSTRA together with other sanctions (sentences and measures) and is therefore part of the criminal justice statistics.
A table with the pronounced expulsion is elaborated from this data. It contains information on the type and duration of the expulsion as well as on the characteristics of the convicted person such as gender, age and residence status.

The Federal Bureau of Statistics has developed a calculation method for the application rate of the mandatory expulsion. For all convictions of offenses under Article 66a of the Criminal Code and for which a mandatory expulsion should be ordered, it is shown whether an expulsion has been pronounced or not. Since 2019, this has been possible for all offenses in the catalog of Article 66a. The application rates show breakdowns by the characteristics of the person and the sentences. Cantonal data are also available:

A publication on the application rate’s calculation and an analysis of factors increasing the risk for expulsion were based on the data from 2017.

Publication to be downloaded in German or in French

Since 2021, figures on the application of the hard-case clause are available.

Figures showing the nationalities of those sentenced to expulsion are available since 2017.

Further information

Tables

Principle punishment: length of the penalty

Principle sanction : Combination of sanctions

Principle punishment: sociodemographic characteristics

Measures

Pre-trial detention

Other measures

Publications

Publication to be downloaded in German

Publication to be downloaded in French

Press releases

Historical data

Statistical sources and concepts

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/sanctions-adults.html