The bills will review Article 322 of the country’s penal code which establishes prison sentences for gang members, and could see longer jail terms imposed in aggravated cases.
President Hernández simultaneously announced “reform for the penitential system, [to] isolate the most dangerous criminals” and thus prevent inmates from continuing to commit crimes from jail.
The announcement comes after a violent weekend in Honduras. On Sunday, four gunmen killed three models traveling in a bus in the capital, Tegucigalpa, while on Saturday, an unidentified assailant murdered a lawyer in the northern city of San Pedro Sula.
Hernández’s proposal would reform the so-called antimara law, that seeks to battle the gangs involved in drug-trafficking, contraband smuggling, theft, and murder, among other criminal activities.
According to the current Honduran Criminal Code, leaders of maras face from nine to 12 years in prison and fines of up to 200.000 Ls. (US$9,300).
Hernández also sent to Congress a law to allow inmates to work during their stay in prison to contribute to their rehabilitation.
Earlier this year, the president announced a sharp reduction of the country’s homicide rate from 86 to 66 per 100,000 people, which still ranks among the world’s highest murder rates. The government cites drug trafficking as the principal cause of gang violence in the country.
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