What if permanent prison were repealed?

What if permanent prison were repealed?

The crime of Laura Luelmo in El Campillo has reopened this week the debate about the permanent rematable prison (PPR). Political groups opposed to this criminal figure have insisted on the need not to make decisions in the heat of murders that shocked the country while supporters defend it as the best way for society to protect against the threat of recidivist murderers . The PSOE, and therefore the Government, supports its repeal, as do Podemos and the Basque nationalists. Opposite, the PP and Cs defend this penalty although with nuances: the training of Pablo Casado wants to reform it to introduce new assumptions while those of Albert Rivera believe it necessary that, beyond this controversy, the law should be reformed in what affects access to the permits and the third degree. In this scenario, the processing of the proposal of the PNV – supported by PSOE and Podemos and a priori with necessary votes to move forward – to repeal the permanent prison remains active although, for months, is paralyzed at the proposal of the Executive of Pedro Sánchez that the Constitutional Court decide the appeal of unconstitutionality, promoted, among others, by the Socialists.

Thus, David Oubel, the "monster of Moraña", Sergio Diaz, Marcos Mirás, Daniel Montaño and Patrick Nogueira, the five sentenced so far to the penalty of permanent remainable prison – and other detainees to whom the prosecutor plans to request equally that same condemnation, are pending, in the first place that the Supreme Court confirm or not their sentences, but, above all, that the Constitutional Court decides. The High Court admitted on July 27, 2015 the appeal filed by the PSOE, Convergència i Unió, PNV, UPyD and Izquierda Plural against the core of the Law that regulates permanent prison and granted a term of 15 days to the Congress of Deputies , Senate and Government to appear in the procedure and formulate allegations.

Given that August is not a working month for these purposes, in mid-September, the TC already had all the necessary reports to begin studying the resource. Since then, more than three years. And, perhaps the most relevant is that there is still no deadline for it to be resolved. "It is not foreseen and at the moment it is not on the agenda," sources close to the Constitutional Court told the newspaper, which appointed Judge Fernando Valdés as rapporteur, who, as of today, has not yet presented any paper to his colleagues that can be debated in the Plenary. As usual rule, the TC usually does not bring a matter to the Plenary until it is seen that there may be a majority consensus, which the president usually finds in his round of regular contacts with the rest of the magistrates.

In this way, those sentenced to permanent remand prison serve their sentences without knowing whether it is constitutional or not. If the constitutionality is endorsed, they will continue with their compliance and will know exactly when they can request the granting of permits -not before eight years of effective compliance-, which does not imply that they are granted, or when they can urge the progression to third degree -between 15 and 22 years of compliance, which can reach 32 in cases of terrorism-, as well as the minimum time they will spend in prison.

However, the doubts and questions would be raised if the unconstitutionality of the reviewable permanent prison was decreed. What would happen in those cases? In these cases, according to legal sources, a penalty review should be urged by those affected, something that, as guarantor of legality, the Prosecutor's Office could also request, and even the trial court itself should proceed to that modification ex officio.

In this way, a new resolution would have to be issued in which the penalties would be adjusted to the crimes for which the permanently reviewable prison sentence was imposed on the person concerned. For example, if PPR was convicted of murdering a particularly vulnerable person – as happened with Sergio Díaz, who nailed the dagger 30 times to his partner's grandfather – a new resolution would have to be issued in which the penalty would be established. favorable for that crime, which, in any case, would be the one that was in force for that crime when it was carried out. In this case, the legislation in force before the 2015 reform introduced by the PPR set a maximum of between 20 and 25 years in prison.

But the big difference would not be so much in the maximum penalty, but in the compliance, the progression of degree and the possibility of enjoying permits. Thus, the third degree could obtain it with half of the sentence, that is, with less than 13 years of compliance; Permits can be granted with a quarter of the sentence – the PPR requires at least eight years in prison. All this means that they could recover freedom much earlier, regardless of whether it could be a danger to society.


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