The average convict in Spain: male, 35, Spanish – and a bad driver

Theft and bodily harm most common crimes among juveniles, according to a new report

A police checkpoint in Madrid.
A police checkpoint in Madrid.Luis Sevillano

They are male, around 35 years old, Spanish and have a traffic violation on their record.

That is the average profile of individuals who were convicted of a crime in Spain last year, according to figures released this month by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

Adult males made up 87.6% of the 218,827 convictions handed down by the courts in 2014, 0.4 percentage points down on the same statistic for 2013.

As figures drop for men, conviction numbers for women rose steadily over the last four years

But as the figures fall for men, the number of convictions for women has risen steadily over the last four years. In 2014, 27,219 women were sentenced for crimes – an 8.1% rise from the previous year.

Most of the sentences handed down for both sexes were for traffic safety violations (96,698). But that number has dropped by 4.5% from 2013.

The second-most-common conviction last year was for bodily harm (34,136) followed by theft (30,815), probation violations (14,180) and public health offenses (12,581).

In all, judges handed down 615,640 sentences last year, with one-fourth of the defendants receiving jail time.

About 92% of convictions were for periods up to two years, which, under Spanish law, gives the judge the option of suspending the sentence if the defendant has no prior criminal record.

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In the juvenile courts, judges handed down 15,048 convictions against offenders between the ages of 14 and 17 during 2014 – a 2.1% rise from the previous year. Nearly 81% of those convicted in that age group were males.

A little over 78% of juvenile convictions were handed down against Spaniards. However, the average rate of convictions for juveniles per 1,000 inhabitants was three times higher for foreigners than Spaniards.

The most common offense committed by minors last year was theft (39.7% of all convictions) followed by bodily harm (13.5%) and the offenses of torture and moral integrity violations (10.2%).

Most of the convicted juveniles were put on probation (39.2%) while others were ordered to perform community service (17.6%) or sent to a semi-open prison (11.6%).

English version by Martin Delfin.

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