A scene from a Mexican prison

Those who fit the profile of a typical criminal in Mexico -- poor male youths with little schooling -- are more likely to be rushed through Mexico's justice system without a fair trial, according to the findings of a new report.

The five-part report, released by the national anti-discrimination council Conapred in collaboration with social science research center CIDE, looks at discrimination in several areas of public life in Mexico, from the workplace to health and nutrition.

In its section on the justice system, the report states that because the police and the Public Ministry have quotas to meet in terms of number of arrests made and the number of cases resolved, authorities are under pressure to act without following due process.

As a result, the criminal justice system heavily favors Mexico's wealthier populations, and those without the funds to hire a private lawyer are significantly disadvantaged, Conapred finds. Seven out of 10 of those sentenced report never having met with a public defender. Unsurprisingly, the majority of Mexico's prison population is made up of males between the ages of 18 to 34 with no more than a primary school education.

Overall, Mexico's justice system "detains, processes, and punishes those who have less: less income, less education, and fewer social contacts," the report concludes. 

The president of Conapred said that the organization had prepared a briefing for Congress on ways to strengthen Mexico's legal system and make it less vulnerable to discriminatory practices.

InSight Crime Analysis

Conapred's report highlights a well-documented problem in Mexico: the majority of the population cannot expect to be treated in accord with due process in the justice system. A report released earlier this year by CIDE found that, among inmates jailed for drug crimes, 92 percent said they never saw an arrest warrant, while another 51 percent said they received no advice from their lawyers.

Part of the problem is the burdensome caseload faced by many public defenders, although Mexico has made some effort to tackle this. A three-year, $6 million project under the Merida Initiative is aimed at increasing the amount of training that public defenders receive. 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...