The bill passed the Polish lower house, the Sejm, by a 229 to 173 margin on Thursday, with 39 legislators abstaining. It now heads to the Senate, the upper house, for further debate, state news agency PAP reported.
Outlining the reform, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said on Thursday: “Punishments must be severe enough to effectively deter especially the most dangerous criminals, those who commit crimes against people’s lives, health and freedom.”
Life imprisonment without parole
Under the bill, those found guilty of the worst crimes could face life imprisonment without parole. The second-longest sentence will be raised from 25 to 30 years. The statute of limitations on murder will be extended from 30 to 40 years.
Crackdown on sex offenders
The reform also envisages more severe punishments for sexual crimes and paedophilia. “Rape with extraordinary cruelty,” for instance, will carry a sentence of up to 30 years in prison or life imprisonment. Until now, it was punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
"Rape that leads to the victim’s death" will carry a penalty of up to 30 years in prison or life imprisonment. Until now, it was punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
Child rape will also be punishable by up to 30 years in prison or life imprisonment.
Tougher punishments for drunk drivers
In other changes, those guilty of the gravest drink-driving offences will have their cars seized; and the sentence for causing an accident that leads to death or serious injury will be raised from 12 to 16 years in prison.
Most of the proposed new measures would take effect three months after being published as law, the PAP news agency reported.
Source: PAP, wnp.pl