Crime and Violence

Mexico to establish special “drug courts”

The Calderón administration announced plans to create special courts to try minor drug-related crimes. The “drug courts,” similar to some operating in the United States, would sentence addicts to rehabilitation programs in lieu of jail time. The move follows recent legislation that effectively decriminalizes minor drug possession deemed for personal use.

The initiative will begin with a pilot program in Nuevo León and this month the proposal will be presented at a national justice convention to apply the system nationwide. In a press conference alongside U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, Mexico’s Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora explained that the move is part of an integral drug policy that begins with prevention of drug use and rehabilitation of addicts, without ignoring law enforcement measures.

Kerlikowske, who has advocated for a more public health-based drug strategy and against the term “war on drugs,” has lauded the plan for drug courts. In his joint press conference with Medina Mora in Mexico, Kerlikowske predicted that they will be a success and will help to break the cycle of addiction and crime by treating addicts instead of imprisoning them.

From the Justice in Mexico Project’s August Monthly News Report:


de la Luz González. “Criminales adictos serán rehabilitados.” El Universal July 28, 2009.

“Destaca Kerlikowske importancia de rehabilitación de adictos.” La Crónica de Hoy July 29, 2009.

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