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Coordinator – Justice Study

Location : Dakar, SENEGAL
Application Deadline :06-Apr-11
Additional CategoryDemocratic Governance
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :English   French  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :45 working days
Expected Duration of Assignment :45 working days


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:
  • Providing a snap-shot of who is in detention.
  • Highlighting the socio-economic implications of unnecessary and arbitrary pretrial detention.
  • Demonstrating how the information collected could influence policy debates.
  • Catalyzing  civil society action around the issue.
  • Providing background material and data for policy debate at country level.
  • Where possible and where needed it is hoped that the studies may lead to pilot programmes. 
Scope of Work and Methodology:
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.
  • It is believed that poor marginalized communities comprise a significant proportion of the detained population but frequently it is impossible to quantify this. Equally it is estimated that large numbers of detainees in under-resourced countries are detained for minor infractions such as stealing a chicken – again it is difficult to put a figure on this assertion. The snapshot interviews will aim to provide this information.
  • The surveys will comprise of a desk review and short interviews with a relevant sample of pretrial detainees, selected from two average sized prisons / remand prisons including at least one outside of the capital. The interviewees will be selected using a stratified sampling approach and will include separate samples of women and children.  All data will be disaggregated by gender and age.
Part Two:    Follow up on the socio-economic consequences of detention:
  • A number of follow up qualitative interviews will be targeted towards a more in-depth understanding of the impact of pretrial detention on the detainee and his/her family. We would hope to show that there are often unexpected and far-reaching socio-economic consequences of pretrial detention.
  • A critical number of interviewees will be purposefully selected per country with the aim of gaining a number of different perspectives. This will include interviews with pre-trial detainees and where possible key family members and caregivers. Based on the results of part one of the research the research leaders will aim to identify interviewees who fall within the majority of responses rather than targeting outliers. For example if the majority of people are charged with ordinary crimes – the in-depth interviews will not target those accused of severe or aggravated crimes. Strategies will be employed to ensure that, for example, prison officials are not involved in the selection of interviewees so as not to interview ‘model’ detainees. High ethical standards will also be respected.
Part Three:  Dissemination and Advocacy:
  • To ensure maximum impact, each participating country will be supported to put in place a national dissemination strategy and advocacy plan.  This may include media campaigns, national workshops and decentralized community dialogue.  Country plans will be context specific suggesting dissemination and advocacy activities to promote reduction of pre-trial detention.
  • Timeline for expected outputs/deliverables
    April 2011 -  Participation and presentation at research meeting.
  • Background report and with methodology adapted to 3 countries.
  • Flyer on study for each country
  • May – June 2011  -  Research in all three countries.
  • June 2011 Database and draft report of each country
  • End June 2011 Presentation of  draft reports.
  • July 2011 -  Final report including advocacy strategy

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:
  • Play an overall coordinating role of the studies in 3 countries.
  • Plan  and lead the implementation of the studies in 3 countries in collaboration with UNDP and partner organisations.
  • Together with the country teams coordinate the preparation of a background report and refine the  methodology to the circumstances in each of the 3 countries.
  • Provide overall support and follow up to move the work forward in a timely fashion.
  • Based on the methodology designed for the study work with the teams established at country level (UNDP, UNICEF, NGO, NHRI)  , to plan the research, identify research locations, coordinate logistics etc.
  • Provide additional support / training re the methodology, data entry etc
  • Provide oversight, ensure that independence is maintained, research teams are not pressurized, research methodology is followed, records are accurately maintained, provide support if problems are encountered etc.
  • Support country survey teams to enter data and generate statistical reports.
  • Work with country survey teams to analyse the data and provide support to write up a country report and develop an advocacy strategy.
  • Extract key elements from each of the country reports to compile a draft synthesis report.
  • Provide regular progress reports to UNDP and the Open Society Justice Initiative.


  • Strong analytical and research skills, writing and communications skills.
  • Good organizational skills.
  • Good knowledge of UNDP’s operations in the field is an advantage.
  • Uses information and internet technology applications effectively as a tool and resource.
  • Ability to speak and write clearly and compellingly in both French and English.
  • Strong interpersonal and good communications skills.
  • Ability to work independently, report in a timely fashion and work against tight deadlines.

Required Skills and Experience

  • University degree in public administration, economics, law, political science, sociology, international relations, development studies, or related field.
  • 3-5 years post graduate experience, in an international agency, bilateral donor, civil society organization or research think tank.
  • Prior experience of working with, or dealing with UN/UNDP in different continents is preferred.
  • Demonstable experience coordinating similar projects.
  • Knowledge and experience in access to justice and human rights programming and policy development. Experience working on criminal justice reform desired.
  • Proficiency in the usage of computers and office software packages
  • Strong field and on the ground experience in related work in West and Central Africa is desirable.
  • Excellent spoken and written skills in French or English.
  • Ability to work effectively in the other language is essential.
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.
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