Source: (2005) Probation Journal. 52(2):181-186.

This article examines the changes and development of penal policy and community sentencing in Hungary. As a new criminal justice system emerges, including the recently reformed probation service in Hungary, this article argues that democratic societies must hold a careful balance between controlling the behaviour of its citizens, whilst crucially also ensuring their freedom, dignity and human rights. From the position of someone who has been closely involved with these developments and transitions in Hungary, the author questions whether the balance that has been achieved in ‘advanced’ democracies, such as the USA, given the excessive use of imprisonment and punitive sentencing. She argues that an alternative model is in the best interests of all – one that stigmatizes the offence but not the's abstract