06/25/11— As part of the New System of Penal Justice to be implemented throughout Mexico, the state of Aguascalientes approved a number of reforms in June that will help create positions for execution and sentencing judges, reported El Heraldo. The series of reforms, which were presented in front of the full legislature on June 19, seek to amend a number of laws and codes that will prepare the state for its transition to the adversarial criminal justice system based on oral trials. The state plans to address the Execution of Penal Sentences, the State System of Public Security, the Institute of Public Security, and the Judicial Organization of the State of Aguascalientes. The changes are intended to make the state’s judiciary the only authority in charge of dealing with penal sanctions, a task that formerly lied with the Executive branch, but that will now be the responsibility of execution judges.
Miguel Ángel Juárez Frías, a member of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI) and President of the Justice Commission of the Aguascalientes State Congress, stated that in addition to the legal and judicial reforms, the new criminal justice system will also focus on reforming the current prison system so that it only report to the judiciary branch.
Despite the advancements, some officials have spoken out and expressed concern that the implementation of the reforms and the transition to the new judicial system will be quite difficult, noting that the state, education system, and resources may not be ready to handle the changes. Aguascalientes is not the only state in this situation. To read more on Veracruz’s recent efforts and similar resistance faced as it proceeds with implementing the New System of Penal Justice, click here.