Revisable permanent prison sentence: the de facto life sentence in Spain

Martín Aragón1
1Universidad De Cádiz, Jerez De La Frontera, Spain

By the Constitutional Law 1/2015, the Spanish Criminal Code was amended to introduce a new sentencing under the name “revisable permanent prison”, which basically allow parole ineligibility periods and abolish opportunities for early parole reviews for certain serious offences. So as a result, Spain do have mandatory life sentence under a politically correct name, in order to be respectful with the constitutional requirements which stablish that the main aim of the imprisonment must be the rehabilitation.

The paper focus on legal aspects -such as the constitutionality of this sentence or its relation with the penitentiary system- and on the criminological ones, such as the possibilities of rehabilitation and the consequences of long term imprisonment no just for the inmate theirself, but also for their inner circle. Related to the rehabilitation, the problem of the sentence development is addressed from two different views; from the lack of prediction in the law and from the penitentiary scope.

The key elements of this entire truss designed by the lawmaker are the victims, whose concerns are not understand as a needing of expanding their safety as a criminal policy goal, but in such a way that they have been transformed into policy sanctification. In that way, it is highlighted here how the media influence the perception the people have on the criminal issue and the important role that have recently played the victims’ lobbies in the criminal law development.


Biography:
I am a Lecturer in Criminal Law and Criminology at the University of Cádiz. I have been working for this University teaching several subjects within the Degree in Criminology and the MA named “Criminal System, Criminality and Security Policies”. I am also the head researcher of a teaching innovation project named Multidimensionality of the criminal fact: qualitative approaching from the class. In addition, I am a member of and an I+D project named Efficacy and impact assessment on the social and legal response to pederasty from a criminological analysis and I have been working in another one named Equality and Criminal Law: gender and nationality as primary factors of discrimination. My PhD (A criminological and legal analysis on long term imprisonment) was received with an International Mention (presented in Spanish and English) and a distinction “cum laude” given unanimously. I also have several publications on different issues related to Criminology.

Regarding international stays I did a 3 months research stay at the University of Leicester in 2016 in order to compare the long term imprisonment to complete my PhD studies. And at this very moment I’m doing a 40 days research stay at the Centre for Criminoogy and sociolegal studies at the University of Toronto. I’m also in this city to give an oral presentation at the XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology about “The Power of Mass Media within the Social Construction of Crime: Analyzing the Pederasty Case in the Spanish Newspapers”.

I am also a Member of the American Society of Criminology and the British Society of Criminology.

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