Code of conduct for prisons staff approved

By Danielle Botti, Information Officer, Rule of Law Unit, UNDP Southern Sudan

Decades of war and instability in Southern Sudan have devastated the delivery capacity of local law enforcement institutions. The Prisons Service in the region is largely staffed with ex-combatants with little or no formal correctional training, and the majority have been working without compensation or on a voluntary basis.

There is fragmented documentation of operating procedures and guidelines for the Prisons Service to lead the staff in carrying out their duties, and little funding to modernize prisons to acceptable levels of hygiene and safety.

To build capacity and professionalism within the Prisons staff, UNMIS and the Southern Sudan Prisons Service, supported by UNDP, recently developed a Code of Conduct for Prisons Staff that is in line with international standards. It outlines the appropriate standard of care for prisoners, including general rules, accountability, professionalism, integrity, and security. The Code was approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Paul Mayom Akec on the 20th of March.

More than five hundred posters, with the Code of Conduct produced and printed in both Arabic and English, will be placed for public display at prison facilities across Southern Sudan.

As a component of the criminal justice system, prisons must abide by principles of justice that are expressed through a belief in the inherent human rights of all people, dignity and worth of individuals, fairness and equality under and before the law, and the management of prisoners and detainees with honesty, openness and integrity.

The Southern Sudan Prisons Service seeks to enhance the safety of the community by providing secure and humane incarceration or detention and facilitating the rehabilitation of prisoners through the improvement of overall conditions for inmates and increased capacity for staff to function within an effective institution.

For the last four years, UNDP has been working with government counterparts and local authorities to improve Rule of Law institutions and systems throughout Southern Sudan. The UNDP Police and Prisons Project provides support to the Southern Sudan Prisons Service as it strives to adhere to the highest standards of prisoner care and community protection.

The project aims to develop the capacity of the Prisons Service to manage larger and more complex projects under the next phase, with funding from the Government of Southern Sudan through the Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The project also incorporates the rehabilitation and construction of State Central Prisons, Juvenile Training Facilities, Prison Headquarters and Training Centers. Nine facilities have been completed to date. By June, 17 facilities will be completed for both Police and Prison.

Through support from the Multi-Donor Trust Fund as well as bilateral support from DFID and DFAIT-Canada, UNDP and UNMIS have been working to strengthen the capacity and resource-base of the Southern Sudan Prisons Services by providing technical advice, equipment, and rehabilitation of key infrastructure projects and capacity building.

Copyright (c) United Nations Development Programme Sudan, 2011. All rights reserved
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