The Polish justice ministry in the summer submitted a proposal under which those found guilty of the worst crimes could face life imprisonment without parole.
President Andrzej Duda on Friday signed the proposed measure into effect after it was approved by Poland's parliament, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
Under the law, the second-longest sentence will be raised from 25 to 30 years, and the statute of limitations on murder will be extended from 30 to 40 years.
Outlining the reform in early July, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said that "punishments must be severe enough to effectively deter especially the most dangerous criminals, those who commit crimes against people’s lives, health and freedom.”
Zbigniew Ziobro. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara
Ziobro argued in a media interview on Saturday that "strict punitive measures have produced the expected results" in various countries "in the case of the worst offenders, including murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and members of mafia groups."
Crackdown on sex offenders
The reform includes more severe punishments for sex crimes and pedophilia. “Rape with extraordinary cruelty,” for instance, will now 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, according to officials. 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 drunk-driving offenses will have their cars seized; and the maximum 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 will take effect three months after being published as law, the PAP news agency reported.
Source: IAR, PAP