Community service, electronic monitoring and probation assistance

Key figures on the topic

Community service

Since 1 January 2018, community service is no longer a sentence as such but a way of executing a sanction. It is, therefore, no longer pronounced by a court but directly by the authority responsible for the execution of sentences.

A custodial sentence of a maximum of six months could be executed in the form of community service under art. 79a SCC; the remainder of a sentence of a maximum of six months after taking into account time spent on remand; a monetary penalty or a fine. This unpaid work must be accomplished for the benefit of social institutions, works of public interest or people in need. Four hours of community service equal a day of custodial sentence, one daily penalty unit of a monetary penalty or one day of an alternative custodial sentence in the case of contraventions.

Enforcement of community service
  2017 20182)
Employment in community service 3 815 3 548
Male 2 919 2 697
Female  896  851
Swiss 2 272 2 062
Foreign nationals 1 543 1 486
Service ended
Total  3 985 3 793
Length of service1)
Mean (in hours)  69  70
Number of days of service 68 939 66 197
Data updated: 28.10.2019
1) 4 hours’ employment of labour correspond to one day of service
2) For technical reasons we were unable to process all records from the canton of Zurich
Source: FSO - Community service statistics

Electronic monitoring

Since 1 January 2018, electronic monitoring (EM) is definitively provided for in the Swiss Criminal Code (SCC - SR 311.0) as a mode of execution for custodial sentences or an alternative custodial sentence of 20 days to 12 months. It can also be ordered towards the end of a long custodial sentence, for a period of three to twelve months, instead of day release employment or day release employment and external accommodation (art. 79b SCC).

At the request of the offender, the executive authority may order the use of electronic devices and their secure attachment to the offender’s body. To be included as an amendment to the SCC, it has been tested in six cantons since 1999 and in Solothurn since 2003.

Electronic monitoring can only be ordered by the executive authority under certain conditions, in particular if the offender lives in permanent accommodation and is doing regulated work or training.

Lastly, a distinction is made between two types of house arrest with electronic monitoring: firstly so-called “front door” schemes, in which the whole period of the custodial sentence is monitored electronically at home, and “back door” schemes, where a person is electronically monitored at home at the end of their sentence, having spent the first part of the sentence in prison.

Electronic monitoring
  2017 2018
New monitoring cases  246 315
Male  215  277
Female  31  38
Swiss  142  164
Foreign nationals  104  151
Monitoring ended
Days of monitoring  24 015 28 031
Mean (in days)  98  89
Data updated: 28.10.2019 Source: FSO - Statistics on custodial sentences under electronic monitoring

Probation supervision

The cantonal authorities responsible for probation assistance ensure that offenders are supervised following their release from a custodial sentence to avoid reoffending and to help with their social reintegration (cf. Art. 93 SCC). The responsible authority provides the necessary assistance (counselling, assistance with housing, employment and education, finances, relationships, leisure time, health and therapy).

The judgement or decision establishes and explains the general provisions and conduct orders governing the probation assistance. The conduct orders concern, in particular, the offender’s occupation, place of residence, driving of motor vehicles, reparation as well as medical and psychological treatment under art. 94 SCC.

Since 2016, data for the period from 2007 until today are taken directly from the Swiss criminal records (VOSTRA) and are no longer drawn from the cantons through the Swiss Association for Probation and Social Work in the Justice System (prosaj).

Probation assistance and conduct orders
  2017 2018
Total 1 529 1 428
Type of order
Probation assistance, conduct order and out-patient treatment   43   43
Probation assistance   916 844
Conduct order   553   523
Out-patient treatment 17 18
By decision
Parole (conditional release)   803   761
(Partly) suspended custodial sentence 302 301
(Partly) suspended monetary penalty 401 364
(Partly) suspended community service 23 2
Persons under supervision
Total at the end of year   3 374   3 271
Register of Criminal Conduct: 28.10.2019 Source: FSO - Probation statistics (BHS)

Further information


Community service

Electronic house arrest


Tables classified by themes

Statistical sources and concepts


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



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