The government of Luis Guillermo Solis presented a draft law before the Legislative Assembly that aims to put to work criminals convicted of nonviolent crimes and whose prison sentences are less than five years.
The draft law addresses project of Law number 20,020, which was introduced in late June by the Vice-Chairperson Ana Helena Chacon and the Minister of Justice and Peace, Cecilia Sanchez.
The initiative consists of a single article, which reforms article 56 of the Penal Code in order to fill the gaps in regulation that exist on the provision of public services by convicted persons.
According to the explanation of the project made by the Government before Congress, the text establishes the requirements or conditions for convicted persons to serve the country in works such as repairing roads.
Among those requirements is having been sentenced to 5 years or less in prison, had not used firearms during the commission of their offense, had not used severe physical violence against the victim, and has no history of crimes with sentences of more than 6 months.
People convicted of organized crime, crimes against the civil service, sexual offenses, homicide, or femicide are not eligible for this opportunity.
In addition, the sentenced should express their repentance for the crime, their desire to compensate the damage caused, and commitment to behave correctly in the future.
The convicted person qualifying for this opportunity will perform a public service for no more than 500 hours per year, equivalent to almost 63 days of work with 8 hour days.
In the event of reverting to the commission of an offense or violating the conditions imposed in order to qualify for this benefit, the convicted person must go back to prison for the amount of years that they were convicted.
However, every 8 hours of public service work will be recognized as one day less in prison.
The project has no assigned Committee, although it could be acquired by the Committee of Security and Drug Trafficking or of Legal Affairs.