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The Politics of Justice and Justice Reform in Latin America

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ISBN13: 9780813334189
ISBN: 0813334187
Published: January 1999
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Format: Hardback
Price: Out of print



This book surveys the traditional roles of Latin American judicial and justice systems and the origins, objectives, and outcomes of contemporary efforts to reform them. It views justice reform as both a technical and political process, demonstrating how evolving understandings in both areas have engendered conflicts over the limits and direction of future change. Drawing on a detailed examination of the Peruvian experience, short case studies on Colombia, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, and other regional examples, Linn Hammergren tracks the evolution of reform policy and politics from a purely sectoral issue to an emerging focus on their relationship to the political foundations, structure, and operations of the modern state. }Latin Americas courts and other justice sector institutions are currently the targets of a region-wide reform process. Shaped by a common intellectual tradition, complaints about sectoral corruption, incompetence, politicization, and sheer irrelevance have encouraged the adoption of remarkably similar remedies; differences in national contexts and reform coalitions have produced marked variations in the results to date.;If improvements in functional performance have generally been less than promised, the political uses and implications of justice reform have far exceeded the expectations of its supporters and opponents. Both developments have provoked a reexamination of the conventional reform model and its underlying assumptions about the sectors impact on state building, democratization, and national integration. The Politics of Justice and Justice Reform in Latin America offers an introduction to the traditional roles and operations of Latin American justice systems and the origins, objectives, and potential of contemporary reform efforts. Its detailed focus on the Peruvian experience is complemented by shorter case studies on Colombia, El Salvador, and Costa Rica and comparative examples from numerous other countries. It views justice reform as both a technical and political process, demonstrating how evolving understandings in both areas have increased conflicts over the limits and direction of future change.;Because Peru was among the first to attempt the conventional reform package, its past failures and most recent departure into politically dependent sectoral modernization are particularly disturbing. As a purely technical feat, improving sectoral performance has proved more difficult than envisioned, but the greatest and still unresolved task has been redefining the political and socioeconomic bases of institutional powers.The book has special relevance for Peruvianists, but its unique comparative overview of Latin Americas orphan branch of government make it a valuable addition to courses on Latin American and comparative politics. Its emphasis on the broader dilemmas posed by sector reform and its analysis of the evolution of reform policy and politics will be of interest to students of comparative legal systems, public policy, and political change in both developed and developing regions. }

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Contents:
* Introduction; Justice in Latin America: Some Reflections on Its Problems and the Prospects for Reform; * The Peruvian Case; Historical Background; The Justice System: Institutional Overview; The Justice System: An Institutional Inventory; The Justice System in Operation: Criminal Justice; System Performance and Impact: The Crisis, Its Origins, and the Efforts to Induce Change; The Fujimori Reforms; * Justice Reform As A Regional Phenomenon; Other Latin American Experience; Perus Experience in Comparative Perspective: Prospects and Lessons for Reform; Justice Reform in the Region: Some Concluding Observations and a Look Ahead