National: “Due to Cuts and Bureaucracy, Amnesty Law Hasn’t Been Applied to or Benefitted any Prisoner” – Animal Politico


In an extensive article published by Animal Politico about the effects of the Amnesty Law urgently approved on April 20th “to help depressurize the country’s prisons facing the coronavirus pandemic”, it was observed that almost two months later it simply has not been applied because to date “it has not been possible to create the commission that the law contemplates as the first step to receiving requests from inmates who want to benefit from it.”

Despite the urgent nature of approval given the risk of contagion from COVID-19 in prisons that often suffer from overcrowding and deficiencies in matters of hygiene, Animal Politicoreported that “bureaucratic problems arisen from the budget cuts due to the austerity measures announced by the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that have delayed the installation of this commission.”

 The media warned of the fact that in the meantime “according to monitoring carried out by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), up to June 10th, 429 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in the country’s penitentiary centers. In addition, 219 cases were registered as suspect. As for deaths, the confirmed figure was 68 inmates killed.” These figures could be even higher when “there is opacity in the official records.”

Animal Politico also stressed that, according to experts on security and justice issues, “the Amnesty Law, by itself, is a useless tool to reduce the risks of the pandemic in the prison system, both due to the times involved and the its limited scope.”

As an example, in her speech at the online conference organized by Reinserta, Catalina Perez Correa, a researcher from Stanford University, explained that “even if the commission is successfully launched, what follows is a period for submitting applications and the one-by-one analysis, a procedure that can take another four months at least”: “The Amnesty Law must be separated from the COVID epidemic. Amnesty law is not an answer for COVID. The times it requires is not enough for that. Although it was brought up in the context of the pandemic, the amnesty is rather a response to the excessive use that we are making of criminal law and the prison system,” she declared.

In April, Animal Politico had made an estimate that “the law, at best, could benefit only 7% of all prisoners.”

For more information in Spanish:

Por recortes y burocracia, Ley de Amnistía no se aplica y no ha beneficiado a ninguna persona presa (Animal Político, 15 de junio de 2020)

Falta de recursos y burocracia detienen la Ley de Amnistía (Contrapesoo Ciudadano, 15 de junio de 2020)

Exige CODIGO DH aplicar ley de amnistía en penales feminiles (El Universal, 15 de junio de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Cereza Collective Requests Release of Women Prisoners in San Cristobal de Las Casas (June 4, 2020)

Chiapas: CSOs Denounces Chiapas State Prosecutor’s Office Setting Conditions for Release of Prisoners Entitled to New Amnesty Law (April 28, 2020)

National: Amnesty Law Approved to Stop Spread of Coronavirus in Prisons (April 23, 2020)

National: Calls on Federal and State Authorities to Take Special Measures to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus in Prisons (March 25, 2020)


National: AMLO Sends Proposal for Amnesty Law to Congress (September 23, 2019)


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