Video: Armenian Attorney Discusses Community Service as an Alternative to Incarceration

Shrinking Alternatives to Incarceration: A Case Study of Community Service Practice in Armenia

May 2011

Armenia’s legal framework requires that individuals be deprived of liberty only when necessary and provides for community service as the main form of non-custodial punishment. However, as documented in the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI’s) Detention Procedure Assessment Tool for Armenia, the imposition of community service as an alternative punishment is extremely rare. On April 6, former ABA ROLI Armenia staff attorney Sarah Shirazyan visited ABA ROLI headquarters for a presentation on the practice of community service in Armenia. Shirazyan, who is now a fellow at Stanford University’s Program in International Legal Studies, is conducting research to empirically investigate barriers to the use of community service as an alternative to incarceration in Armenia.

Her findings show that the legacy of Soviet correctional labor, shame associated with performing community service, defendants’ poor economic circumstances, institutional lack of financial and technical resources, lack of awareness of the legal framework for community service and flaws in the legal framework’s design are the main reasons behind the disuse of community service.

To learn more about our work in Armenia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org

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