Sierra Leone

Working with the Justice Sector Coordination Office (JSCO), a team from Harvard has been helping managers in justice sector agencies develop indicators that communicate progress toward strategic goals, learn more about problems in the justice system, and improve the performance of individual institutions. Since January 2011, in response to a request from the Attorney General, we have been working with officials in the judiciary, police, and prosecution service to develop an indicator of improvements in the justice sector’s response to violence against women and girls. Field research in March suggests that there was an increase in the proportion of investigations of sexual assault that were forwarded to the prosecution stage in 2010. Further work this summer should yield a prototype indicator, which the JSCO might propose to a leadership group that supervises the performance of the justice system as a whole.

The collaboration with the JSCO began with an effort to strengthen measures for the government’s goal of building “safer communities,” principally by connecting the results of public perception surveys to data from the Police Service about the numbers of recorded crimes. We then tried to measure the length of stay for prisoners on remand, using a combination of prison and court data. The information systems on which these data depend are currently being revised, in response to a government inquiry into a prison escape. Improvements to these systems might establish a foundation on which prison officials and the justice sector could measure the duration of pretrial detention.

Our Work in Sierra Leone

Inmate Tracking Device, Freetown Central Prison August, 2009

Photo: PCJ Staff