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Rule of Law

USAID programs form part of a coordinated U.S. Government effort to help strengthen the rule of law in Mexico under the Merida Initiative. USAID cooperates with Mexico to implement criminal justice reform by:

  • Supporting Mexico in developing policies and legislation for key rule of law reforms
  • Strengthening the capacity of judges, prosecutors, public defense attorneys, lawyers and security officials to promote and implement justice system improvements
  • Helping justice sector institutions to effectively plan, implement, and monitor the criminal justice transition that safeguards due process and protects human rights
  • Developing curricula for law schools to prepare the next generation of justice sector operators
  • Informing and engaging citizens in criminal justice reform, and supporting civic oversight efforts


During 2012, USAID supported Mexico in achieving the following results:

  • A study completed during 2012 on the impact of criminal justice reform implementation in the states of Chihuahua, Morelos, Oaxaca, Mexico State, and Zacatecas demonstrates that, following at least one year of implementation, the new criminal justice system proved more efficient than the traditional system, while also being tougher on crime and more respectful of citizens' rights. Pre-trial detentions have decreased, while longer sentences for more serious crimes have increased. The report also highlights that mediation for minor crimes in reform states has helped reduce court congestion.
  • Trained more than 20,000 judges and judicial personnel in the new criminal justice system and strengthened key institutions such as alternative justice centers and victims’ assistance units.
  • Supported the development of law school curricula to prepare next generation of justice sector operators in seven Mexican law schools, reaching hundreds of students.

Last updated: October 27, 2016

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