More alternatives to fines for breaking municipal by-lawsA new decree increases the number of by-law infringements for which penalties other than fines can be applied. The number of different infringements has risen from 111 to 154 and is accompanied by an increase in the different educational strategies and measures used to make offenders more responsible and the reparation extended to victims.
Educational measures, community service and personal development plans may all be used as alternatives to fines for people breaking certain municipal by-laws. The idea is to increase awareness among offenders on the rules of proper conduct and respect towards others in the city.
In an effort to strengthen citizenship and community, promote a culture of restorative justice and avoid those most vulnerable ending up in even more vulnerable situations because of fines, the new decree regulating alternatives to fines is being implemented.
The decree means an increase of 38% in the number of infringements where alternatives to fines can be used, including some very serious offences. Likewise, the types of offences for which alternative penalties can be applied have also been increased and include infringements of the freedoms of third parties and environmental and noise pollution.
A new alternative measure has also been introduced to the current list and offers mediation when there are aggrieved people or collectives. Greater involvement and coordination with social services will also help guarantee that people at risk or in vulnerable situations get access to a personal development plan. Finally, the new decree improves information available to people via the procedures website, with improvements to be made to the process.
Helping the community fulfil the penalty
Alternatives can consist of educational measures, community service, a personal development plan, mediation or any other activity agreed between the offender and the City Council.
Barcelona residents of legal age can thus choose an alternative to a fine, providing there is no repeat of the offence or a similar one for at least 12 months, as can people in vulnerable situations and minors.
Adult residents must submit an application to access the alternative measures, while the City Council offers minors the express possibility of opting for one.
Compared to fines, alternative measures are a more effective way of making people responsible in relation to infringements and offer better value for taxpayers. They also offer more guarantees that the penalty will be fulfilled and foster greater involvement and participation in the community.