Published: 29 September 2017

Number of persons sentenced by courts of first instance decreased further in 2016

According to Statistics Finland's data, there were around four per cent fewer persons sentenced of offences by courts of first instance in 2016 than one year earlier. The total number of persons sentenced was slightly over 53,000. Fifty-nine per cent of them were sentenced to a fine and 38 per cent to imprisonment. Thirteen per cent fewer summary penal orders and fine orders were issued and 12 per cent more petty fines than in the year before.

Development of sentences issued by courts of first instance, summary penal orders and fine orders and petty fines in 2005 to 2016, number

Development of sentences issued by courts of first instance, summary penal orders and fine orders and petty fines in 2005 to 2016, number

In 2016, nearly five per cent fewer fines were passed by district courts than one year earlier, in total 36,307 fines (incl. fines and petty fines sentenced in court, supplementary day fines and disciplinary fines). Nineteen per cent of day fines passed by district courts were caused by drunken driving and 12 per cent by assaults. The majority of disciplinary fines passed in addition to conditional imprisonment, 92 per cent, were caused by aggravated drunken driving. Petty fines issued by court were mainly consequences of traffic infractions. The new act on fine procedure entered into force on 1 December 2016. A total of 151,307 fines were sentenced by a summary penal order, of which 265 according to the new act on fine procedure. The number of fine orders issued by the police was 4,391. About 42 per cent of summary penal orders and fine orders were caused by endangerment of traffic safety.

Fines sentenced by courts of first instance, summary penal orders, fine orders and petty in 1996 to 2016, number

Fines sentenced by courts of first instance, summary penal orders, fine orders and petty in 1996 to 2016, number

The accrual of fines for all fines (incl. fines and petty fines sentenced in court, supplementary day fines and disciplinary fines) totalled over EUR 98.6 million in 2016, nearly 15 per cent more than a year ago. Almost 30,000 more petty fines were issued and the accrual of fines was 72 per cent bigger than in 2015. The accrual of fines for summary penal orders was EUR 37.7 million and that of fine orders EUR 1.1 million. The accrual of fines sentenced in courts of first instance in 2016 was four per cent lower than in 2015. In total, courts of first instance issued fines to the value of EUR 17.9 million.

Total accrual of fines for fines sentenced by courts of first instance, summary penal orders and fine orders and petty fines in 1996 to 2016, EUR

Total accrual of fines for fines sentenced by courts of first instance, summary penal orders and fine orders and petty fines in 1996 to 2016, EUR

Imprisonment sentences numbered nearly 20,000

In 2016, a total of 5,532 sentences of unconditional imprisonment were passed. Ten of these were sentences of life imprisonment and 378 were sentences where previous unconditional imprisonment was regarded as a sufficient sanction. Seventy-four sentences of fixed-term unconditional imprisonment of eight years or longer were passed. Fifty per cent of these sentences were passed for manslaughter and 41 per cent for narcotics offences. Thirty-six per cent of all unconditional imprisonment sentences were for under three months. Of them, 44 per cent were results of traffic offences, 31 per cent of property offences and 11 per cent of offences against life and health. The average duration of unconditional imprisonment was 12.4 months.

Imprisonment in 1980 to 2016, number

Imprisonment in 1980 to 2016, number

Unconditional imprisonment of at most six months can be passed as a monitoring sentence. In 2016, a total of 207 unconditional imprisonment sentences were converted into monitoring sentences and they had the average duration of 3.1 months.

Unconditional imprisonment of under eight months can be sentenced as community service if it is not caused by refusing military or civil military service or a civil military service offence. Thirty-three per cent of all convertible unconditional imprisonment sentences were converted into community service in 2016. Community service was clearly used most when passing a sentence for drunken driving. The average duration of community service was 95 hours.

Altogether 12,763 sentences of conditional imprisonment were passed in 2016, nearly four per cent fewer than one year earlier. The average duration of conditional imprisonment was 4.2 months. Around 38 per cent of sentences of conditional imprisonment were caused by aggravated drunken driving. The second most sentences of conditional imprisonment were passed for assaults.


Source: Prosecutions, sentences and punishments 2016, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Salla Tuominiemi 029 551 3242, rikos@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 29.9.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Prosecutions, sentences and punishments [e-publication].
ISSN=2343-1679. 2016. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 23.11.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/syyttr/2016/syyttr_2016_2017-09-29_tie_001_en.html

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