Attrition in and Performance of Criminal Justice Systems in Europe: A Comparative Approach

Article

Abstract

The article takes a close look at attrition processes in criminal justice systems across Europe. Reasons for attrition and indicators for attrition measurement are identified. Data used for comparison mainly stems from the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics. The article focuses on offender (suspects per recorded offenses) and conviction (convicted persons per suspects) ratios. These ratios are compared between three European regions: northern and western Europe, southern Europe and central and eastern Europe. The analysis refers to the total of criminal offenses processed in a system and to three selected offenses with a relatively good international comparability (theft, robbery and homicide). It also examines the relationship between attrition and quantitative and qualitative system performance. The article shows that there are significant differences in offender ratios across offense types, whereas conviction ratios differ significantly across regions. While indicators of quantitative system performance are positively correlated with offender and conviction ratios, the quality of police work in a criminal justice system is unrelated to offender ratios and negatively correlated with conviction ratios. Several explanations for these results are discussed.

Keywords

European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics Attrition Performance Policing Homicide Criminal justice system 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Comparative Criminal Law and JusticeUniversity of GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany

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