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crime and punishment Swiss judges hand down fewer convictions in 2017

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A minority of convictions brought prison sentences; 87% resulted in fines.


Criminal convictions fell by 5% in 2017 compared to the previous year, the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has reported. Over 1,000 people were deported in the same period, according to new rules.

The statistics show that some 105,000 convictions were brought against adult-age offenders in Switzerland in 2017, an overall decline of 5%.

Various types of offences saw a drop: infringing the penal code (-7%), road traffic offenses (-4%), immigration-related crime (-6%), and drugs convictions (-8%). The most frequent punishment, handed down in 87% of cases, was a fine.


The FSO also reported that some 1,039 convictions came with a deportation order, the first figures to take account of a new regulation introduced in October 2016 allowing judges to expel foreign offenders.

“These convictions concern primarily people staying in Switzerland without a B or C Permit, that is, holders of some other type of permit (short term residents, asylum seekers), tourists, or those in Switzerland illegally,” the FSO wrote. Some 92% of the expulsions were male.

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Many of these numbers include cases that go back prior to October 2016. When only 2017 is considered, 1,210 cases in total involved the possibility of deportation, a punishment handed down 54% of times.

Of these cases, just 10% involved holders of B or C permits. Some 71% involved holders of “other” statuses, while 80% were related to convictions that also carried jail time.

Serious prison terms were most likely to bring about deportation: 90% of deported criminals in 2016 were facing jail time of six months or more. Just 3% of deportations were related to cases resulting in a fine.


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