Relatively indeterminate sentences
Principle of guilt
Principle of the resocialisation of offenders
RULING Nº 549/94
19 of October of 1994
The provision of Article 30.1 of the Constitution, prohibiting sentences and security measures of unlimited or unspecified duration, means that sentences must be fixed and determinate so as to safeguard the right to freedom and security.
«Relatively indeterminate sentences», fixing a minimum and a maximum limit, are not sentences of unspecified duration.
The point at issue was the constitutionality of the provisions of the criminal Code which laid down a «relatively indeterminate sentence» for alcoholic or drug-addicted offenders, and for alcohol- or drug-related crimes (incurring a prison sentence).
The «relatively indeterminate sentence» provided for in the 1982 criminal Code is designed to take account of the principles of culpability and social rehabilitation of the offender. By fixing a clearly defined minimum and maximum limit, the Code provides for the possibility of socially rehabilitating offenders without undermining their human dignity.
The Court upholds the case-law of judgment no. 43/86 and confirms the trend in Portuguese legal theory.