RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Mexican government announced that it would publish a decree to release from prison adults over 75 years of age, chronically ill adults over 65 years of age, prisoners who have not been sentenced for 10 years, and tortured people.
“We do not want torture in Mexico, nobody deserves to be tortured, nobody, so these four actions will be part of a decree that I will sign and that will be prepared by the Secretary of the Interior (Olga Sánchez Cordero),” announced President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The president advised that he would prepare the document next week to release the prisoners by September 15, although he did not specify the number of beneficiaries.
López Obrador justified the decree by pointing out that of the more than 220,000 people in prisons, about 125,500, or 43%, have not been sentenced.
“It is important to take into account that there are many detainees, prisoners, inmates, who have not been sentenced, and it is not only federal prisons, it is also common prisons, and it is the majority,” he said.
This is an additional measure to the Amnesty Law enacted by the Government in April 2020 to free some 6,000 people convicted or in pretrial detention for abortion, petty theft, or drug possession.
The Decentralized Administrative Body for Prevention and Social Readaptation (OADPRS) reported last March overcrowding in 172 federal penitentiaries, out of a total of 288, that is, 60% of the total.
The head of the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), Sanchez Cordero, stated that the Prison Policy Decree would be addressed to enforcement judges.
Senior citizens released from prison will be able to spend the remainder of their sentence in house arrest.
Anyone who has been imprisoned for 10 years or more without a sentence will obtain their release if the crime is not serious, as will anyone who proves torture based on the Istanbul Protocol. “The President has also instructed that in this Government, no act of torture can be allowed and even less for obtaining a confession or within the prison itself,” stated Sanchez Cordero.
The government has attributed the problem to the backlog in the courts, showing that the federal court system has a workload of 2.4 million proceedings. In contrast, the superior courts of the states have a backlog of 31 million cases.
“It is not possible to have a delay in the administration of Justice, in such a way that we have a population deprived of their freedom without any definitive sentence”, expressed Sanchez Cordero.