(Video only available in Spanish)
Last September 28th, Congressperson Victor Manuel Sanchez Orozco, of the Movimiento Ciudadano party, presented a legal reform to the National Juvenile Justice System Law in Mexico´s National Congress. Juvenile Justice Advocates has been working with Congressperson Clemente Castañeda Hoeflich and Congressperson Sanchez, this year to improve the juvenile justice system.
The proposed reform would change how juvenile cases are processed under the national law to reduce the length of pretrial detention. Currently, pretrial detention can last up to six months, which has negative effects on childrens´ physical and mental health, education, and their connections to their families and communities, all of which contribute to deteriorating public security in the long-term.
The proposed reform would require that juveniles are processed faster and ensure that pretrial detention is used as the last resort and for the shortest period of time possible. Specifically, limit pretrial detention to 30 days for children instead of 5 months, and require that judges review pretrial detention every 10 days instead of 30 in the current law.
If adopted, this reform would bring Mexico in-line with limits placed on juvenile pretrial detention by other countries in the region, strengthen the constitutional guarantees of the presumption of innocence, and minimize the harm that is often done to children deprived of liberty.