Convictions up, especially for immigration offences

The number of short-term prison sentences increased in 2013 Keystone

This content was published on October 27, 2014

The number of convictions in Switzerland reached an all-time high last year, according to the Federal Statistics Office, with the largest increase in the number of people who broke laws related to immigration and foreigners‘ rights.

A total of 109,278 convictions took place in Switzerland in 2013 – an increase of 2% over the previous year. There was a 12.3% increase in the number of convictions for breaking immigration-related laws, with judges and prosecutors issuing significantly more penalties to individuals who did not follow entry and exit requirements.

Some 12,202 sentences were issued for illegal stays in Switzerland – 20% more than in 2012. In another 3,200 cases, individuals were sentenced for working illegally, representing a 12.7% increase.

The statistics office also reported an increase in the number of criminal and narcotics-related offences. However, the number of traffic-related crimes declined by 0.4%.

In addition, the type of punishment doled out for crimes changed in 2013.

“Many more short prison sentences of one to six months were issued,“ said Isabel Gatlinberg, head of the statistics offices’s justice and judgments section.

In total, 11,880 prison sentences were issued in 2013, up 21.7% from 2012. The most common form of punishment remained fines, with 91,346 total fines issued, representing 83.5% of all punishments. Community service was only used in 2,813 cases, a 3.3% decline over last year.

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