The Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015 is attainable only if the world’s governments ensure that access to justice and fair resolution of disputes are accessible and attainable for all. Current failures have resulted, to varying degrees, in ongoing conflict and spiralling poverty: if families and communities feel insecure, fall victim to failing criminal justice systems or are unable to resolve day to day disputes, they are, as a consequence, unable to engage maximally in productive activity.
Criminal justice systems are one part of the picture – and the pretrial phase – as the entry point to the criminal justice system enables us to ‘take the temperature’ of the system as a whole.
On any given day, three million people around the world are behind bars awaiting trial. The consequences for these detainees are severe but the repercussions are felt far beyond the holding cells. Poor and marginalized communities are disproportionately affected as their members are more likely to be arbitrarily arrested and, unable to afford legal assistance, are most vulnerable to spending prolonged periods in pretrial detention. When individuals are detained for excessive periods and lose their employment, their families slip deeper into poverty, facing hunger and homelessness.
The evidential basis is, however, scant. In many countries it is difficult to say with any certainty the exact proportion of detainees who come from poor and marginalized communities. Statistics on lengths of time spent in detention and the consequent, and magnifying, impact for family members are often not available.
There are a number of localized studies that demonstrate the collateral consequences of detention – yet it is not a widely explored area and the empirical data is often missing. The findings of such studies are, however, noteworthy. In the UK, for example, a report found that 65 percent of boys with a convicted parent go on to commit an offence later in life. In Mexico, a study estimated that the amount of income lost annually as a result of the detention of pretrial detainees, who were employed at the time of arrest, was 1.3 billion pesos or 100 million USD.
In 2009 the Open Society Justice Initiative commissioned, as part of the Global Campaign for Pretrial Justice, a series of linking papers looking at the consequences of pretrial detention related to torture, corruption, public health and socio-economic development. The papers provide an overview of the problem statement, track existing literature and make a number of policy and research oriented recommendations.
In order to embed the socio-economic perspective into policy oriented discussions follow up is needed at the national level engaging NGOs, justice sector institutions, policy makers and donor agencies.
Objectives of the Study on Socio-Economic Consequences of Pretrial Detention:
UNDP and Justice Initiative therefore propose a Study on Socio-Economic Consequences of Pretrial Detention to be carried out in number of country – building on the work of the socio-economic linking paper and aimed at catalyzing policy level discussions. The studies would be a motivational starting point and would not aim to provide a comprehensive / scientific analysis of the entire criminal justice system. As a preliminary step – with the aim of generating information and discussion in a short period of time – the initial study will be limited in scope, with the potential to scale up in any country / replicate in other countries.
The studies aim at:
The study will be carried out in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Guinea. In each country a study team will be established in charge of liaising with the authorities, carrying out the collection of data, analyzing the data and preparing a report for advocacy and policy dialogue with national authorities. The coordinator will be in charge of coordinating the studies in the three countries.
The Open Society Justice Initiative and UNDP will design and prepare a general research methodology which will be presented at a research meeting with participation of the study teams of all three countries. The coordinator – with support of the study team in each country, and in collaboration with the Open Society Justice Initiative and UNDP - will be ensure that the general research methodology is applicable to the different country contexts and for any necessary refinement.
Part One: Provide a snapshot of who is in detention.
Duties and Responsibilities
|UNDP is seeking an expert consultant to coordinate the studies on the socio-economic consequences of pretrial detention in Sierra Leone, Ghana and Guinea. While the Open Society Justice Initiative and UNDP will design and prepare a general research methodology for the studies, the tasks of the consultant will be as follows: |
Required Skills and Experience
| Education: |
UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
Coordinator – Justice Study