Transfer of Sentenced Persons
The purpose of transferring sentenced persons to their home countries is advancing their rehabilitation into society. Accordingly, a sentenced person is offered a possibility to continue serving his sentence in his own social environment.
A transfer requires, besides the consent of the sentenced person, also the consent of both states and nationality of the administering state. Other requirements are the finality of the sentence and dual criminality. Once transferred, the administering state is no longer allowed to examine whether the person committed the offence or not.
Domestic provisions for transferring sentenced persons are in the Act on International Cooperation in the Enforcement of Certain Penal Sanctions. International provisions can be found in the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. Finland may transfer persons solely on the basis of domestic provisions even in the absence of an international obligation. However, a foreign state may require the existence of such an obligation.
In Finland a transfer is decided in the Ministry of Justice. A transfer to Finland requires that the person has expressed his wish to the Ministry of Justice to continue serving his sentence in Finland, and that he is a Finnish national or his place of residence is here. Additionally, the offence for which punishment was sentenced is, or would be in similar circumstances, punishable in Finland.
Once the person has been transferred to Finland, the enforcement of sentence takes place in accordance with our legislation. Hence, for example, eligibility for parole is determined in accordance with Finnish law.
The above principles are followed also in transferring a foreigner from Finland to his home country. The length of the remaining sentence has to be at least four months at the time transfer is requested. In practice, the remaining sentence has to be at least one year.
In certain circumstances it is possible to transfer an inmate even without his consent. When a person has been sentenced to imprisonment and subsequently been ordered to be deported or expelled, he may be transferred to his home country without his consent. The underlying idea is that because the person is not allowed to stay in the country after serving the sentence, it is expedient in light of his rehabilitation to transfer him to his home country as early as possible.
Involuntary transfer is possible between Parties to the Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
Transfer between the Nordic Countries is not treaty-based, instead it is conducted in accordance with uniform Nordic legislation. In Finland the law is called the Act on Cooperation between Finland and Other Nordic Countries in the Enforcement of Sentences in Criminal Matters. Nordic transfers do not require the consent of the person. The competent authority in Finland is the Criminal Sanctions Agency.
In the EU the transfer of sentenced persons takes place in accordance with a Framework Decision on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. Nearly all Member States have implemented the FD into their legislations. In Finland the implementation took place by enacting a law to that effect. The competent authority in Finland is the Criminal Sanctions Agency.
Legislation and agreements
The following acts and agreements can be found in Finlex
Act on International Cooperation in the Enforcement of Certain Penal Sanctions (21/1987)
Act on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons in the European Union (1169/2011)
Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (Treaty Series 13/1987)
Taina Neira, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs
Ministry of Justice, Department for Private Law and Administration of Justice, International Judicial Assistance international legal assistance in criminal matters extradition transfer of sentenced persons Telephone:0295150070
Sonja Varpasuo, Senior Specialist
Ministry of Justice, Department for Private Law and Administration of Justice, International Judicial Assistance international legal assistance in criminal matters extradition transfer of sentenced persons Telephone:0295150073