Thieves who steal for the first time would be free, but the second time they get caught, they would go to jail, even if it is for a few days.
This is stipulated in the bill that aims to eliminate prison for theft or misdemeanors. Nowadays, the sentences can be up to 3 years in prison for such crimes.
According to the initiative, a monetary fine would be imposed for those who commit theft, but if the person reoffends, the sentence would be from 5 to 20 days in prison.
The same measure would apply to those who make graffiti on public building walls, for people who use false weights or measures in trade activities and for those who destroy traffic signs.
The project, which amends several articles from the Criminal Code, aims to keep a balance between crimes and sentences and it intends to promote offenders’ social inclusion.
This initiative is promoted by Silvia Sánchez and Karla Prendas, members of the party Liberación Nacional (PLN), and seeks to turn crimes into contraventions.
The criminal justice system has just been absurd for putting in jail people for stealing tuna or cheeses, which are crimes associated with hunger and social situation,
the legislators explain when presenting the bill.
If the reform is approved, thefts would not be punished with imprisonment, as it was before 2009. The initiative is an alternative for overcrowded prisons.
Though the bill is supported by the Supreme Court of Justice, the Ministry of Justice and the General Prosecutor of the Republic, it doesn’t have the full support of the Legislative Assembly.