What should we know about the community service penalty? - Sagué Abogados penalistas
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What should we know about the community service penalty?

What should we know about the community service penalty?

Among the different types of penalties provided for in the Penal Code, Community Benefit Works (hereinafter, CBC), a penalty considered as deprivation of rights (not of freedom), consisting of the performance of public utility activities by the convicted person for a certain period of time, are foreseen.

What do they consist of?

The type of work to be performed by the convicted person is closely related to the crime for which he has been sentenced, and may consist of repairing the damage caused by the commission of the crime, as well as workshops to support or assist victims of traffic accidents, and also participation in training programs for re-education, labor, cultural, road safety, sexual education, or other similar programs.

How long can they last?

The minimum duration of the TBC penalty is one day, up to a maximum of one year. However, the working day may not exceed eight hours a day, with the possibility of a shorter working day, as agreed between the prisoner and the prison administration.

In addition, they should know that the contingencies of occupational accidents and diseases that may arise from the provision of the TBC are covered by the Social Security.

How do TBCs work?

In the first place, in order to perform community service work, it is an indispensable requirement that the convicted person has given his consent to perform such work, since he is accepting the performance of work of a mandatory nature and without receiving any remuneration.

Secondly, they are the Services for the Management of Penalties and Alternative Measures (hereinafter, SGPMA) The prisoner will be contacted by the prisoner’s local authority who will initiate the procedures for the execution of the sentence and who will contact the prisoner to establish the plan for the execution of the sentence (inform about types of activities, available places, location, timetable, etc.).

SGPMA must take into account the work, family and educational situation of the prisoner, as well as any other personal circumstances that may influence the organization of the work when deciding on the type of activity to be carried out. Moreover, the prisoner may propose a specific activity, which will be evaluated by the prison administration.

The fulfillment of the sentence of community service cannot entail or cause serious damage to the normal development of the daily activities of the convicted person, since it is a sentence that must comply with the requirements of flexibility and adaptability to the circumstances of each convicted person.

Once the compliance plan has been agreed and notified, it will be immediately enforceable, i.e., from that moment on, the convicted person is strictly obliged to comply with each and every one of the conditions established.

Thereafter, the Penitentiary Surveillance Judge will be in charge of supervising compliance with the TBC, requesting reports on work performance from the Administration, public entity or association of interest where the services are provided.

What happens if the offender fails to comply with the TBC compliance plan?

If the convict is unable to attend any specific day to perform community service, he/she must immediately inform the Association or entity where he/she is providing such services, as well as provide documentary evidence (certificate of illness, death of a family member, etc.). The cause must be relevant.

Except for the above, failure to comply with the compliance plan without any justification, either by being absent from work, by opposing the instructions of the person in charge or by performing less than the minimum required, among others, will be reported to the competent Court of Instruction for the alleged commission of a crime. The offence of breach of sentence, thus initiating another criminal proceeding against the same convicted person.

At SAGUÉ CRIMINAL LAWYERS we understand that the TBCs entail, for all those convicts who consciously accept and commit themselves to develop them and follow the compliance plan strictly, a excellent alternative to imprisonment or fine This allows them to keep their family, work and social life intact and can even become a great opportunity to change habits, re-educate themselves and prevent future crimes. However, despite all the above advantages, we must remember that each prisoner has different personal circumstances and interests, so that a sentence that may be excellent for some, can become a real ordeal for others.

Thus, in the case at hand, choosing to serve TBC as a sentence may be an inappropriate choice for all those convicts who, for example, wish to be able to expunge their criminal record in the shortest possible time.At the moment there is a long waiting list to start the execution of the TBC and consequently, automatically, the time limit for the convict to request the cancellation of his criminal record is extended, since this period only begins to run once the sentence imposed has been served in full, that is, in this case, once the TBC compliance plan has been finalized.

As you can see, Criminal Law is not an exact science, nor is the same solution applicable to all subjects, therefore, SAGUÉ CRIMINAL LAWYERS recommends that, in case of any legal-criminal issue, you should immediately go to a trusted criminal lawyer to get the best advice, because as we say colloquially, “prevention is better than cure“..