Reform of driving offences off course
Drunk and reckless drivers sentenced to community services are finding out that there are no community service jobs available.6 May 2008
MADRID - An ambitious reform of the Spanish Penal Code to stamp out drunk and reckless driving is falling well short of the government's goals due to a lack of jobs for people sentenced to community service.
The reform mandates prison sentences for anyone caught driving drunk or driving at more than 50km/h over the speed limit. However, judges can commute prison time for people with no prior convictions to a fine, the suspension of their driving license and community service.
The problem is that the law was changed despite the fact that Spain has little tradition of community service and few jobs for convicts to do.
Of 800 community service sentences in Madrid since December, just 174 have been completed. Nationwide, the deficit between the number of community jobs and people sentenced to fulfil them runs into the thousands.
[El Pais / Elsa Granda / Expatica]
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