Image credits: Gobierno de México
News Article

Preventive Jail Initiative / National Guard Reform

By Paloma Duran | Fri, 09/09/2022 - 11:58

Insecurity prevails in Zacatecas. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stressed that until Zacatecas becomes a safe place to live, its security plan will continue to be enforced. “People are worried about the security problem in the state. We want to inform them that they are not alone. The Armed Forces support program continues, but we need to reinforce our security plan in Zacatecas. The goal is to live in peace.”

Nationally, Zacatecas currently ranks first in extortion, while in homicides it ranks fourth. Both crimes are on the rise as the state has become strategic for drug dealers and organized crime. In 1H22, there were 555 intentional homicides; January and July were the most violent months with 99 and 85 homicides, respectively. Authorities have highlighted that since the beginning of the López Obrador’s administration, 81 percent of crimes in the state have been committed by organized crime. The most recent crimes in the state have been drug blockades and the burning of cars, following the capture of members of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) and the Sinaloa Cartel.

Preventive jail initiative is withdrawn. López Obrador applauded the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) to withdraw the initiative to eliminate preventive jail. “I am very thankful to the ministers of the Court who withdrew the initiative to remove preventive jail. It was going to generate many problems for us, especially because there is a lot of corruption in the judiciary system.”

Yesterday, the debate regarding preventive jail time had its third consecutive session at the Supreme Court. This legal framework puts alleged criminals immediately in jail for certain serious crimes. Deputy Minister of Security Ricardo Mejía Berdeja said that if preventive jail time is eliminated, it would be up to a judge to decide the sentence of those arrested, which could lead to more corruption.

After a judge decided that José Bernabé, accused of being the main violence generator in the state of Colima, would not be processed, Mejía Berdeja pointed out the importance of preventive jail. Berdeja explained that preventive jail time operates automatically and is not arbitrary. When attribution to a crime like feminicide, homicide, rape or organized crime is proven, at that moment prison time is properly defined. The Mexican government asked the Supreme Court of Justice to maintain preventive jail, claiming that it is fundamental for some crimes and in ensuring criminals do not evade justice while in trial.

National Guard reform. President López Obrador thanked senators and deputies for approving the National Guard reform, which makes it operationally and administratively dependent on the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA). “It is a change that is needed to ensure greater security. We still have to make sure the Federal Police does not become corrupted.”

The reform was approved with 69 votes in favor, 50 against and an objection in a session that lasted more than 11 hours. The reform seeks to restructure the Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC). With this change, the SSPC will no longer have operational activities in the field of public security and its mission will be to prevent crime and coordinate actions to prevent torture. The opposition has accused López Obrador’s government of militarizing the country and is planning to file an unconstitutionality action against the reform so that it can be suspended.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Gobierno de México, Milenio
Photo by:   Gobierno de México
Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Journalist and Industry Analyst