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Faculty Research Working Paper Series
Christopher Stone
Daniel & Florence Guggenheim Professor of the Practice of Criminal Justice
A New Era for Justice Sector Reform in Haiti
Stone, Christopher. "A New Era for Justice Sector Reform in Haiti." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP10-033, July 2010.
Abstract
In the months before the January earthquake, Haiti and its criminal justice institutions were the subject of an unprecedented effort by two UN agencies to measure the state of the Rule of Law. Drawing on the results of that pre-quake assessment as well as on post-quake assessments of the justice sector, this paper raises four questions that should guide recovery and further development of the police, courts, and prisons in Haiti—questions that focus attention on the meaning of justice sector reform for the people of Haiti, especially the poor. (1) What is the goal of justice sector reform in Haiti and how would we know if we are achieving it? (2) From whose perspective will specific reforms to the police, courts, and prisons be prioritized? (3) How is the police enforcement mission changing in Haiti in the post-quake period, and what are the implications for the courts and prisons? (4) Where are the immediate opportunities for signal reforms that could be achieved quickly and demonstrate to a wide audience the direction in which longer term reforms are heading? The paper frames alternative answers to each of these questions and, in the process, suggests how the Rule of Law Indicators piloted just before the earthquake could be used to assess Haiti’s criminal justice system in the years ahead.
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