Prado, Mariana Mota, Michael Trebilcock, and Patrick Hartford. “Police Reform in Violent Democracies in Latin America.” Hague Journal Of The Rule Of Law 4, no. 2 (September 2012): 252-285. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 10, 2015).

In this journal article, the three authors have focused on discussing the challenges of effective policing, and what types of reforms need to be made to guarantee that Latin American police forces are upholding the rule of law under a democratic regime. The authors maintain that non-democratic policing dominates in the majority of Latin American countries, often including militarized and corrupt police forces. However, the authors also insist that there are three key steps that reformers need to take in order to successfully initiate change within the police force. These steps involve ensuring that the police force is not being controlled by a specific group, promoting accountability for the actions of the police, and bypassing existing institutions to promote reform.

This article is insightful as it describes the ideal police force, followed by the reality of the situation in Latin America, and finally provides details on how the issues can be reformed. The authors also use examples from police forces in specific countries, which strengthens their claims about the inadequacy of the police. This article was meant to be read and analyzed by people who want to work towards reform in Latin America, specifically regarding the policing situation. It was also meant for people who are unaware of the prevalence of ineffective police forces in Latin America as it provides detailed information about the situation as a whole.

This article enhanced my understanding of how human rights can so easily be violated in some areas of Latin America. If the police force itself can be corrupt and ineffective, then it is more difficult to ensure that the law is being upheld and human rights are not being ignored. Overall, it contributed to my understanding of the larger themes of this course by effectively describing the issues with policing in Latin America


This photo shows the Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora, or UPP, which are Pacification Police Units in Brazil. The authors of the article mention the UPP as a clear example of reform that can be used to guarantee that the rule of law is being upheld and the police are doing their job. This photo accompanied a blog post on the topic of safety in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and came from the website, pacificadora.html

Tags: Latin America, Human Rights, Police, Democracy, Impunity, Law Enforcement

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