Guyana: Strengthening the Criminal Justice System
From 2016 to 2021, JES successfully led and implemented the Strengthening the Criminal Justice System project in Guyana, which aimed at:
- improving crime and crime scene investigations, case preparation, and trial advocacy
- ensuring media and public support for justice system reform
- developing the capacity of the Guyanese criminal justice system to work with Forensic Video Analysis
To achieve project goals, JES worked closely with the Guyana Police Force (GPF), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chambers, the Judiciary and the media.
Key highlights of the project include law enforcement professionalization through training, coaching, the implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for crime scene investigations, improved evidence handling and the establishment of a Forensic Video Analysis unit, resulting in CCTV evidence now commonly used in prosecutions and resulting in more convictions. The project also contributed to demonstrable improvements in the trial process and the Judiciary, particularly at Magistrates Courts, where cases are dispensed more effectively by using and accepting CCTV footage, video-recorded police interviews and other forensic evidence in courts.
Additionally, JES contributed to improved collaboration across all professional fields of work and within the justice sectors (police, prosecution, judiciary, media), which resulted in increased efficiencies in case management, better understanding and appreciation for each role and a greater transparency for Guyanese citizens.
- 1,528 participants (police, investigators, prosecutors, judges, media) trained and reached through training and coaching activities
- 37 courses completed and delivered by 17 local trainers
- 4 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) developed and implemented for crime scene investigations and improved evidence handling and examination practices, leading to stronger cases being made by the police and resulting in convictions
- 1 Investigator’s Toolkit created and institutionalized
- Better understanding and acceptance of CCTV footage and video-recorded interviews as evidence in the Magistrates Courts
- 9883% increase in CCTV videos analyzed
- 10 convictions with CCTV Evidence
- 23 public education videos created and disseminated with 18,424 views
- Improved quality of crime scene investigations, through SOPs, improved care and handling of evidence and proper notetaking