Mexico’s Supreme Court to consider constitutionality of mandatory pretrial detention

By Murphy Woodhouse
Published: Friday, September 2, 2022 - 4:17pm

Mexico’s Supreme Court will soon consider the constitutionality of mandatory pretrial detention.

Across Mexico, more than 40% of people incarcerated have yet to be sentenced. Not all inmates are in jail due to mandatory pretrial detention, which is reserved for certain crimes, but human rights attorney Luis Tapia thinks it's likely many are.

“It goes against the presumption of innocence,” he said. “Because it becomes a punishment in advance.”

Mexico’s highest court will consider that and other questions next week, and could rule mandatory pretrial detention unconstitutional. If they do so, Tapia said it would represent a step toward resolving some of Mexico's criminal justice system’s structural failings.

But Mexico’s president and other high-ranking officials have warned that such a ruling could result in the release of the country’s roughly 92,000 unsentenced prisoners. Tapia said that won’t happen because not all of them are mandatorily detained, and even those that are would still need to go through a legal process to be released.

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