Several of the changes introduced by Pope Francis involve the treatment of the defendant in a criminal trial, including the possibility of a reduced sentence for good behavior and of not being handcuffed in court.
An addendum to article 17 in the penal code states that if the condemned person, during his sentence, “has behaved in such a way as to imply his repentance and has profitably participated in the treatment and reintegration program,” his sentence may be reduced from between 45 to 120 days for each year of the sentence served.
It adds that before beginning a sentence, the offender may draw up an agreement with the judge for a treatment and integration program with the specific commitment to “eliminate or mitigate the consequences of the crime,” by actions such as restoring damages or carrying out voluntary social work, “as well as conduct aimed at promoting, where possible, mediation with the injured person.”
Article 376 is replaced with new wording stating that the defendant under arrest will not be handcuffed at the trial, with other precautions being taken to prevent escape.
Pope Francis also said that, in an addition to article 379, if, however, the defendant is unable to attend the hearing for “legitimate and serious impediment, or if due to mental infirmity he is unable to provide for his own defense,” the hearing will be suspended or postponed.
If the defendant refuses to attend a hearing in the trial, without having a “legitimate and serious impediment,” the hearing will continue as if the defendant were present, and he or she will be represented by the defense lawyer.