From 2011-2013, PRI’s Middle East and North Africa office ran a regional programme in six countries to promote the humane and fair treatment of vulnerable people in conflict with the law. The programme was funded by the Swedish International Cooperation Development Agency (SIDA).
Evaluated in Summer 2014, this impact evaluation assesses the following three intended project outcomes in two of the six countries – Jordan and Tunisia.
- Increased knowledge and enhanced competencies on international standards for the treatment of vulnerable prisoners amongst key criminal justice system stakeholders.
- Plans and proposals agreed for implementing alternative sanctions and diversion mechanisms at community and police level.
- Improved capacity of civil society groups to initiate projects that aim at protecting vulnerable groups in prison and promoting alternatives.
Key findings from the evaluation, together with an assessment of PRI’s contribution, include the following.
- The most significant change was achieved in Jordan where PRI: helped to establish a juvenile police department pilot in Amman which has achieved high success rates in diverting children away from the criminal justice system; worked with other agencies to draft a new Children’s Act which prioritises restorative non-custodial measures for children in trouble with the law; and established Jordan’s first inspection mechanism for children’s detention and residential facilities.
- In Tunisia, where recent political upheaval slowed progress, there is evidence to suggest that the Prison Department has started the journey towards a human rights based approach to prison management. PRI has built up a strong partnership with the Prison Department and its support enabled it to invest in its training and training facilities and to develop a strategic plan with a strong focus on prisoners’ rehabilitation to take forward.
- PRI was and is particularly successful at harnessing regional expertise and experience and developing models of good practice to transfer to other countries in the region.
This evaluation forms part of a series of evaluations being undertaken by PRI in an effort to test and develop methods to rigorously assess and effectively communicate the medium-to-long-term impact of PRI’s projects and programmes.
The evaluation was carried out by PRI’s Evaluation and Learning Adviser in August 2014 using a qualitative research methodology known as Process Tracing. Process tracing identifies target outcomes and then focuses data collection and analysis on determining the extent to which these targeted outcomes were realised and the importance of the project’s contribution to those outcomes.
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