Exploring the Effects of Civic Justice on Offending Patterns in Mexico

Research Team

Project Overview

Civic Justice is a preventative approach to minor offenses based on community courts, restorative justice, and problem-oriented policing components. The goal of the model is to reduce recidivism and escalation to more serious violence and crimes. Key characteristics of Civic Justice include public audiences, on-site mediation by police, medical and psychological assessment, non-punitive sentence options, and an emphasis on human rights—especially in the treatment of vulnerable populations.

USAID supports municipal authorities in Mexico in their implementation of Civic Justice through its current Violence Prevention and Reduction Activity (PREVI), a four-year activity (2020-2024) aimed at strengthening the capacities of local actors to expand Civic Justice, while promoting the use of evidence-based interventions for secondary and tertiary prevention and fostering information sharing among criminal justice operators and municipal law enforcement.

In 2022, USAID commissioned CJP to undertake a collaborative research approach to investigate how Civic Justice is working in Mexico on key outcome indicators including recidivism. Our evaluation utilized a mixed-methods approach that included analysis of official Civic Justice data from the Chihuahua municipal police and semi-guided interviews and focus groups sessions with stakeholders from the municipalities of Chihuahua and La Paz.