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Local governments ignore prisons

Most local prisons in Mexico didn't pass the assessment made by the National Human Rights Commission
Jail in Matamoros – Photo: DGSP/EL UNIVERSAL
01/11/2017
09:07
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The Judicial System is comprised of several bodies. Currently, there are deficiencies in the phases of investigation, prevention, and rehabilitation, which is why the system isn't working as it should and represents an inefficient means to achieve law enforcement.

The implementation of a new model in 2016 has the objective of providing scientific grounds to charges and of making the investigation phase the main focus of justice, yet progress isn't being achieved smoothly.

Crime prevention – vital in fighting crime – wasn't allocated a federal budget for this 2017.

Most local prisons in Mexico didn't pass the assessment made by the National Human Rights Commission.

The Justice System, in short, has many weak spots. An adequate rule of Law will remain a goal beyond our reach as long as all its bodies don't work accordingly.

This time the prisons exposed were the ones in the State of Mexico, which join the list already including Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Durango, and Guerrero. An inmate has gone through over a dozen of state prisons in the State of Mexico and in all of them he has managed to lead and control the penitentiaries. He has been charged with kidnapping, extortion, and murder, but so far he hasn't received a sentence.

It's not the first time we see a delay in justice. This week the United Nations has recommended the Federal Government to release two prisoners who have spent 15 years in jail but still haven't been given a sentence. In this particular case, their confession was obtained through torture.

Law enforcement is one of these weak spots.

If someone is found guilty of a misdemeanor and imprisoned as a result, chances are in prison they will meet high-risk inmates, who are the real owners of the prison, and they will have no more choice but to follow “orders” if they want to survive. Murder is a common crime in penitentiaries.

Why do local governments don't assume their full responsibilities? Yesterday the National Human Rights Commission pointed out their purpose is to support the governments, yet the authorities “don't comply with their responsibilities and are absent from the government structure which should prevail in a penitentiary.”

The most severe deficiencies of the prison system are found at a local level. The Federation should demand improvements in this category. How many more mutinies, abuses and deaths will we have to witness?

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