International standards and good practice insist upon separate criminal justice systems for children under the age of 18. Jordan’s current juvenile justice legislation contains a number of gaps, including no provision or legal basis for specialised juvenile police, alternatives to detention, or independent monitoring mechanism to inspect children’s detention facilities. A new juvenile justice law will address these issues, but has yet to be adopted.
From 2011-2013, PRI’s MENA office implemented a programme supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to strengthen juvenile justice systems in Jordan, Egypt and Yemen.
Carried out in late 2013, this impact evaluation assesses the project’s success in Jordan. The evaluation focused on the following three outcomes:
- increased capacity and improved performance of the pilot Juvenile Police Department in Amman
- increased public and institutional awareness of alternatives to the deprivation of liberty for juveniles
- increased capacity and improved performance of the newly established independent monitoring team, including the adoption and implementation of standards for monitoring and inspection.
Key findings from the evaluation, together with an assessment of PRI’s contribution, include the following.
- The pilot Juvenile Police Department (JPD) established with PRI support in January 2012 is resolving up to 90% of cases at police level in the North Amman District. This compares to an estimated 30% in areas of Jordan that are outside its jurisdiction. The evaluation found that PRI made a significant contribution to developing the capacity of the JPD, eg. providing training and helping to develop procedures and guidelines.
- There is currently limited basis for support for alternative sanctions for juveniles or adults in Jordan. However, the new draft law on juvenile justice contains an article on alternatives, with a focus on community service, which PRI played an important role in drafting. There still remains a lot of work to do on raising public support for alternatives and when the new law is passed, on developing programmes to implement it.
- In March 2013, a new independent monitoring team was formally established to monitor Jordan’s social care facilities, including six juvenile detention centres. PRI played an important role in its creation and development, forming a partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, providing training and operational guidance. The new mechanism is in line with international standards: independent, multi-disciplinary and has guaranteed unrestricted access to facilities within its mandate.
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 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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