The Mexican government contemplates releasing 681 unjustly imprisoned inmates out of a total universe of more than four thousand cases under analysis on Wednesday, in a fact that recognizes the injustices of the State and at the same time evidences the violation of human and procedural rights.
The Mexican Government located 4 thousand 233 files of tortured prisoners, without conviction, elderly or with chronic diseases that can benefit from a recent decree. Of these, as announced on Tuesday, the release of 681 people is expected for this September 15, the date that the President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) had set as a goal.
But despite the good intentions of the decree, which seeks to depressurize prisons and help thousands of people, specialists on the subject affirmed that it does not really propose solutions, it results in existing legal provisions, and also repeats failures that have been presented with other measures such as the Amnesty Law.
“This decree is nothing more than a reiteration of what was already in the law. With the added bonus of encouraging an administrative authority and the prison systems to have the possibility of proactively identifying cases and communicating them to the defense offices and the judicial powers.” explained Viridiana Valgañón, lawyer for the organization Equis Justicia para las Mujeres.
“A mechanism should be included to exhort various administrative authorities to work to facilitate the return of these people to their lives abroad.”
The decree of last August 25 orders a committee to release adults over 75 years of age, adults over 65 with chronic diseases, prisoners with 10 years without a sentence and tortured. But for Valgañón, the necessary human and material resources do not yet exist sufficient for this committee to function effectively, so the body may “become oversaturated.”
He pointed out that this is something that has already happened with the Amnesty Commission, which, more than a year after it was installed, has barely met four times. According to official figures, the prison population in Mexico is 220,866 people. However, there are more than 94,000 inmates without sentencing, the majority in state prisons.
Positive but sharp
Nayomi Aoyama, coordinator of the program Penitentiary System and Social Reintegration of the organization Documenta, affirmed that the decree is something “positive” but among the NGOs there is still concern about the “little effectiveness of this type of documents.”
He explained that something similar has happened with the Amnesty Law of April 2020, where of the more than 1,600 requests, only five cases have obtained the benefit. Aoyama pointed out that there is also a problem of opacity because it does not include any type of transparency mechanism that allows monitoring the performance of this committee and the releases that are granted. And he added that it has not been explained how the evaluation of the cases will be done.
For the specialist in security and crime prevention issues, Eunice Rendón, these types of tools “are very good at heart, which is why they are motivated, but in the end they do not end up being very practical.” And for this reason he gave as an example “what has happened with the Amnesty Law, in a process that has been a bit slow and arduous.” He stressed that for now “the most important thing is the political will of the authorities” and wished that educational and informational tools be created to help inmates and their families interested in this process. “It is a complex issue,” he stressed.
They do not contemplate reintegration
The experts pointed out that one of the problems of this decree is that it does not include a reintegration plan or strategy. “A mechanism should be included to exhort various administrative authorities to work to facilitate the return of these people to their lives abroad,” Aoyama said.
While the authorities should also care for people who come out with clinical conditions as well as guarantee access to housing. Meanwhile, Valgañón affirmed that the decree only sends a contradictory message: “While on the one hand the tortured prisoners are released, on the other decrees are approved to militarize the country, when we know that they are institutions that are denounced for torture by international organizations “, lament.
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