Palma's courts will be unable to cope with the new “fast track trials” unless eight new courts, two on standby 24 hours a day, are opened. Proposed reforms to the Penal Code in Spain have had their critics and apart from Palma judges worried the courts will not be able to cope, Balearic leader Francesc Antich said “Balearic courts will be brought to a stand still.” At the moment the duty judge system in Palma works on a rotation system with each judge required to be on duty out of hours once every ten days. Under the new Penal Code, unless more judges and courts are provided, judges will be on duty once every five days. Antich said that not only does the region need more judges, prosecutors and courts, in order to enforce the new Penal Code, the Balearics need more police. Antich highlighted the problem already encountered at Palma's new prison, which was opened less than five years ago. The prison is overcrowded, “it's operating at 113 per cent capacity” Antich said, wondering how the region will cope with criminals found guilty by the fast track trial system which will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of inmates. Antich explained that in accordance with the new Penal Code “around 800 minor delinquents will end up in prison.” He branded the new Penal Code as Partido Popular central government propaganda in the build up to the elections. “As far as I am concerned, it's an act of desperation on behalf of the government,” Antich added. “What we need are preventative measures to effectively crack down on crime,” he said, which in the case of the Balearics, as central government is well aware, means filling the vacancies in the National Police force and the Guardia Civil while putting more police on the streets to halt the sharp rise in crime.


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