News & Resources USAID Increases Access to Justice for Citizens Across Mexico

USAID Increases Access to Justice for Citizens Across Mexico

July 2017

The citizen assistance multiplatform for the NCJS, Justice for You, is one of the initiatives of USAID’s PROJUST project with the greatest reach

Since 2008, the Mexican government has made various efforts to implement, consolidate, and disseminate information about the New Criminal Justice System (NCJS). However, the National Survey on the Criminal Justice System conducted in 2012 showed that only 11% of the population was aware of justice system changes and that guidance and information services were not being provided to justice system users. This was the last survey to measure the level of citizen knowledge about the NCJS and its available services.

In 2015, USAID’s Promoting Justice project (PROJUST) began developing informational websites about the NCJS in four states in response to justice institutions’ requests for support for assistance in promoting awareness of the services provided to citizens under the NCJS. In 2016, PROJUST, in collaboration with Locatel, succeeded in elevating the state website project to another level by creating a citizen assistance multiplatform for the NCJS called Justice for You. The multiplatform seeks to inform citizens at the national level about what to do if they are involved in a criminal process through three support channels: a customized website for each state, online chat, and a call center.

Justice for You (www.justiciaparati.mx) was launched on October 12, 2016. USAID provided technical assistance for the project’s design and development as well as training for call center operators. Currently it provides service in four states: Mexico City, Coahuila, the State of Mexico, and Tabasco. By the end of 2017, it will serve the citizens of 28 additional states. As of June 2017, the website has received 7,818 visits and 5,719 guidance inquiries from citizens facing criminal proceedings as victims, accused, or interested third parties.

July_Article_PhotoFor Emma Huitron, coordinator of the Justice for You call center, “it has been a great pleasure to be able to support people who don’t have a lawyer to guide them through an urgent situation and ensuring they can obtain the necessary information over the phone to avoid larger problems or unlawful detention.”

Justice for You is sustainable in the long term because of the coordinated efforts between USAID and the Government of Mexico City, the Ministry of Interior of Mexico and the National Conference of Governors (CONAGO), who all officially inaugurated this service at the national level through a cooperation agreement. In 2017, USAID through PROJUST, will continue to build customized websites for more states and in coordination with Locatel, the call center service will be disseminated through local campaigns. PROJUST will also seek to include referrals to civil society organizations that work closely with justice institutions, in order to offer more options to citizens. By 2019, PROJUST plans to launch websites in all 32 states with the goal that all Mexicans have access to this service.