05/27/2011— The Federal District Legislative Assembly (Asamblea Legislative del Distrito Federal, ALDF) approved the Law on Execution of Criminal Sanctions and Social Reintegration (Ley de Ejecución de Sanciones Penales y Reinserción Social) for the Federal District (DF) of Mexico. This law makes it possible for qualified inmates to fulfill some of their sentence on house arrest, where an electronic tracking device, such as a bracelet, will monitor them. Officials project that the law would affect between 10,000 and 20,000 prisoners, though an exact number is not confirmed.
Julio César Moreno, a leader of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, PRD), stated that this new law would empower the judicial authorities to evaluate if the long distance tracking of inmates is effective and if it actually depressurizes the prisons. Alejandro Carbajal, a member of the Commission of Administration and Management of Justice of the ALDF, noted that the new law will only apply to inmates whose prison sentences fall between 5 and 10 years, while stating that it should not apply to those who have committed more serious crimes such as kidnapping, murder, trafficking, extortion, organized crime, and torture.
While many are optimistic about the new law, Edgar Elías Azar, a presiding judge of the High Court of the Federal District (Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Distrito Federal, TSJDF), noted that the allocation of proper resources are necessary to make the law effective. He expressed concern about the law’s actual implementation considering some estimate that there could be as many as 20,000 inmates who are eligible for in-home detention, making it difficult to distribute a sufficient number of bracelets.
The president of the Green Party in the DF (Partido Verde Ecologista de México del Distrito Federal México, PVEM-DF), Jorge Legoretta, stated that the prisons in the capital have come to operate as “universities of crime,” where the current system is continually failing to be an effective form of rehabilitation. Such failures have pushed the state government to take action and approve the new law.