Mabel Jenny Antezana Arispe

2011 JusticeMakers Fellow, Bolivia

About Mabel

Mabel Jenny Antezana Arispe has been a practicing lawyer in Bolivia since 1997. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law and Politics from the Universidad Mayor de San Simón and a postgraduate degree in Criminology from the Universidad de la Habana in Cuba. She has been a member of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights since 1990. More recently, Ms. Antezana Arispe taught Roman Law at the Universidad Mayor de San Simón and was an oral advocacy trainer for Proyecto ACCESO, a rule of law training and public education program.

Ms. Antezana Arispe also has extensive experience in the area of water rights, having been invited to speak on the topic by both the Law Society and State Bar of Cochabamba. In 2009, she contributed to the parliamentary committee regarding legislation on the environment and renewable resources.

The Challenge

Most prisons in Bolivia lack the legal and physical infrastructure to uphold the rights of detainees. Prisons are extremely overcrowded, and pretrial detainees frequently spend months in prison without access to counsel. While the criminal justice system operates in accordance with the law, police investigations are often not conducted according to international standards, and courts do not follow proper procedures because they are unaware of what is legally required of them.

The Innovation

Mabel is convinced that better training of criminal defense attorneys and increased legal rights awareness among detainees would result in less crowded detention centers and a more efficient criminal justice system. Therefore, her project focused on conducting prison trainings to educate detainees on their rights and provide them with a sense of duty, helping them reintegrate into society. By the end of the project, attending inmates were educated on their rights and had participated in activities such as mock trials to help them understand how to put these rights into practice. A magazine with images and drawings on criminal justice procedures was created to spread awareness beyond the classroom to the entire prison population.