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
  2019 2020
Employment in community service 4 128 3 268
Male 3 154 2 490
Female  974 778
Swiss 2 385 1 930
Foreign nationals 1 743 1 338
Service ended
Total  4 263 3 550
Length of service1)
Mean (in hours) 71
Number of days of service 75 987 56 756
State of the database: 21.10.2021
1) 4 hours’ employment of labour correspond to one day of service
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
  2019 2020
New monitoring cases 419
Male  368 278
Female 51
Swiss  217  183
Foreign nationals  202  149
Monitoring ended
Days of monitoring 39 503 35 652
Mean (in days)  96 99
State of the database: 21.10.2021 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
  2019 2020
Total 1 383 1 362
Type of order
Probation assistance, conduct order and out-patient treatment   53  34
Probation assistance   845 858
Conduct order   475   457
Out-patient treatment 10
By decision
Parole (conditional release)  808 736
(Partly) suspended custodial sentence 289
(Partly) suspended monetary penalty 286
Persons under supervision
Total at the end of year   3 175   3 008
State of the Register of Criminal Conduct: 27.10.2021 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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