Ernesto Canales

Ashoka Fellow
Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
Fellow Since 2012


This profile was prepared when Ernesto Canales was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Ernesto works toward an integral reform of the criminal and judicial system in Mexico by promoting more transparent, efficient, and honest trials with the goal of preventing another generation of large-scale injustices and systematic corruption. In practice, the current Mexican legal system suffers from a severe disconnect between the intent of laws and their actual implementation. Renace looks for ways to correct this by refocusing on social conduct to come ever closer to the notion of justice, a more substantive basis for the laws, and applying these laws to further greater social welfare.

At the core is the implementation of oral trials nationwide, starting with a state-by-state strategy. Renace helps state governments understand the failures of their criminal system, based on the inquisitorial model, and modify their legislation by implementing oral trials, based on an agile, efficient, oral system that recognizes the most important rights of the victims and defendant. Renace has already managed to transform the legal system in the state of Nuevo León and is working to reproduce its success in other states.

Ernesto’s position as a prestigious corporate lawyer has helped him to unite many key figures from different public, private and social sectors to discuss criminal reform. These meetings have been so effective that they have been able to construct a proposal for criminal reform that as of April 2012 was under discussion in the Senator’s Chamber. Ernesto also has participated actively in the planning and implementation of public policies focused on improving the judicial system at a local, national, and federal level.

Renace also spearheaded the creation of the National Network of Civil Organizations in Support of Oral Trials and Due Process. More than 100 higher-level institutions have joined this network, which led to achieving approval of a constitutional reform of the criminal justice system in Mexico, incorporating the principles of oral trials in 2008.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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