Why toughen the punishments?

The PVEM party proposed to apply the death penalty to kidnappers back in 2005

Why toughen the punishments?
The death penalty hasn't decreased the crime rates in the U.S. - Photo: Pat Sullivan/AP
English 09/10/2018 09:03 Mexico City Newspaper Leader Actualizada 09:05
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Ten years ago, the PVEM's proposal to apply the death penalty for kidnappers sparked off a national debate, even though three years before, in 2005, Mexico had joined other countries to eliminate those punishments from their laws.

In the end, the proposal was withdrawn. In its place, legislators approved tougher sentences for kidnappers. The sanctions contained in the laws gange o from 40 to 140 years in prison.

Even then, this crime hasn't vanished. Organizations such as Stop Kidnappings (Alto al Secuestro) are pressuring the three government levels to adopt actions to fight against kidnapping. Alto al Secuestro's numbers show that kidnapping cases increase and decrease every month.

Has the death penalty helped to diminish the number of cases? Experts deny this is the case, and as an example, they mention one of the most significant cases: the death penalty is legal in some parts of the U.S., and the crime rate hasn't decreased.

In the Mexican Senate, during this legislative session, the legislative priority is to classify fuel theft as a felony. This Monday, EL UNIVERSAL published data that shows an exponential growth of fuel theft all over the country, as the country went from 890 clandestine fuel connections during Fox's term to 37,4777 connections during Peña Nieto's administration.

Will the measure proposed by the Senate be enough to contain the huachicoleo phenomenon? It's true that it could prevent the alleged criminals from being released on bail, but is this everything Congress can do?

Toughening sentences and punishments barely help to fight the “milking” of PEMEX's pipelines, mostly when the main problem behind it is impunity. Also, what's the point of having dozens, hundreds, or thousands or criminals serving long sentences in prison, if we know that jails are headquarters for extortioners, kidnappers, and cartel members?

In Congress, they should change the traditional repression model for one of crime prevention, an aspect that basically disappeared in the last years. It's time to bet on a policy that focuses on the root of the problem, and that its ultimate goal is not to act once the crime is committed.


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