Civil and Socialist Law Traditions in Cuba: Direct Citizen Involvement in Crime Control

G. Frederick Allen, Central Michigan University

This paper presents a vew of cuba's criminal justice system based on a recent visit to Cuba on a criminal justice delegation. Cuba is a centralist state organized occording to a Marxist-Lennist model. The impact of the association with the former Soviet Union has created a civil-socialist model that emphasizes the use of direct citizen involvement in the judicial and crime control procedures and informatl social counts as legal mechanism to resolve conflicts.

This paper is based on the premise that it is important for criminal justice academicians and practitioner to become acquainted with other systems in order to truly understand and appreciate one's respective system. Although there are major variations among crimnal justice systems in the world, these systems are undergoing important transformations. Cuba represents an example of a system in transition.

The paper presents the Cuban system in the context of recent changes in the U.S. since 9-11, underscoring the importance of understanding the legal traditions of a country to truly evaluate the effectiveness of its legal system in addressing its crime reduction goal. Furthermore, the paper concludes that although the Cuban system has been portrayed as a repressive system, yet there appears to be a shift towards more lenient strategies.

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Updated 05/20/2006