Press release

Mexico Plans Its First Pretrial Services Agency

November 07, 2006
+1 212-548-0378

CHIHUAHUA CITY, Mexico—Mexican officials gathered here during the first week of November to plan the country's first pretrial services agency, a major step in reforming Mexico's use of pretrial detention. The meeting, involving senior officials from the Chihuahua government, was organized and led by the Open Society Justice Initiative and its Mexican partner organization, Renace.

Recent changes in Mexico's criminal justice system are leading states to reform their use of pretrial detention, in which defendants are held in jail rather than released under bail or some other form of cautionary measure.

At the invitation of the attorney general of Chihuahua, the Justice Initiative and Renace are helping the government of Chihuahua City establish a pilot pretrial services agency. The agency is expected to: evaluate individual defendants based on transparent and accurate criteria; provide impartial information to judicial officers to help them determine whether a defendant should be released or detained; and provide an array of supervision services for defendants who would otherwise not be released while awaiting trial.

The trainings held this week will help judicial officers in Chihuahua better understand the benefits and operation of a pretrial services agency. In time, the pilot project is expected to reduce the use of pretrial detention in that state.

The trainings are part of a larger Justice Initiative project on pretrial detention in Mexico, which seeks to promote the presumption of innocence and reduce the use of unnecessary pretrial detention.


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