The Partnership of the Caribbean and the European Union on Justice (PACE Justice) Regional Programme
Efficient access to justice is being undermined across the region by delays within several key stages of the criminal justice process, resulting in major backlogs of cases. The identified backlogs have been occasioned by pervasive human and technological resource and capacity constraints, which, in turn, have contributed to massive bottlenecks in the work of the investigators, public prosecutors and courts. As a result, these backlogs directly contribute to the worryingly high levels of prisoners on remand for extended periods and serve to increase overall incarceration rates in the region – which are already among the highest globally. The impact of these backlogs are disproportionately borne by young males, with the vast majority of those on remand being males between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
The reasons for these backlogs are numerous, ranging from weaknesses in police data capture, out-dated course case handling systems and processes, paper-based evidence management systems, limited digitalisation of corrections system processes and witness tampering and intimidation, which disproportionately affects women and victims of gender-based violence and intimate partner violence.
The project’s ultimate objective is therefore to enhance the institutional capacities of police forces, prosecutors, lawyers, courts and prisons in the Caribbean to effectively and efficiently manage criminal cases. To achieve this objective, UNDP and partners will develop interventions along three well-defined, but strongly connected dimensions, including the deployment of enabling technology and systems training to improve efficiency of criminal justice administration; the empowerment of stakeholders through gender-aware capacity building across all elements of the administration of justice, with a focus on service design and delivery and strengthening national and regional processes and procedures for improved efficiency and accountability within the justice sector.
The UNDP outputs will be aligned in the framework of the overall EU Europe Latin America Programme of Assistance against Transnational Organised Crime (EL PAcCTO) which seeks to ddresses the entire criminal chain from an integral perspective through its work in three components: police, justice and penitentiary and will work in coordination with other related activities being undertaken by the EU Delegation in Barbados.
 The NAR revealed that in some countries, such as Barbados, over 50% of the prison population comprises those on remand and these individuals may face years before their case is heard in court.