The criminal justice system (CJS) is the ballast to a nation’s stability. By enforcing the rule of law, the police, courts and corrections provide citizens with security. However, when the system becomes so riddled with corruption, what was meant to be a protector becomes a predator. In many fragile states, the CJS is just that – another threat to the average citizen and a resource that the wealthy and powerful use to maintain their position. This distortion of the CJS’s purpose occurs through the systematic use of extortion/bribery, sexual favors, political interference and favoritism or, typically, some combination of all four.
This innovative practice brief describes an experimental effort to combat these forces within the CJS of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It describes the two-year effort, explains the processes used for learning, highlights key results and offers lessons learned, as well as ongoing challenges.