The reform of criminal justice systems has become a priority for the
international community in its efforts to assist transitional and post-conflict
societies in re-establishing the rule of law. In different parts of the
world—from Afghanistan to Iraq, Haiti to Liberia- numerous international and
regional organizations, bilateral donors, and non-governmental organizations are
engaged in a variety of activities aimed at rebuilding or developing criminal
The men and women sent by the international community to advise post-conflict
States on specific facets of criminal justice reform are talented, dedicated,
and hard working. However, their determination to make a difference can lead
them—especially those unfamiliar with the requirements of operating in unstable
and unpredictable post-conflict environments—to focus solely on their own
aspects of criminal justice reform and lose sight of the challenges and
complexities of criminal justice reform as a whole.
While focusing on one's own reform project is understandable, such a focus is
decidedly detrimental to the prospects of rebuilding an effective criminal
justice system. These systems may have many moving parts that do not function in
isolation; but rather are elaborately interconnected, with each component
affecting all others. For instance, a seemingly modest change in the law on
domestic violence may influence the number of arrests made by the police, which
may have a cascading affect on the caseloads of prosecutors and defence counsel,
the work of the courts, the number of people sent to prison, and the programmes
to reintegrate offenders back into society. Such connected systems cannot be
successfully reformed in an unconnected fashion.
One should not expect to improve policing in a post-conflict State merely by
redrafting police procedures and giving the police more resources. Significant
and sustainable improvements in policing also depend on changing the capacity of
the courts, enhancing respect for human rights, re-moulding public attitudes
towards law enforcement, and introducing a range of other measures, some of
which may seem only distantly related to policing.he methods in practice are in
need of reform to set itself with the change and the need for addressal, to put
quick and decisive end to the rant speculative justice, Underlying are few
notable means that adds a shining prospect to the existing deficiencies of the
Criminal justice system.
Finland's Ombudsman institutions
Finland, due to historical reasons, has two parallel institutions serving
ombudsman functions. Both the Chancellor of Justice of the Government, appointed
by the President of the Republic, and the Parliamentary Ombudsman elected by the
Parliament act as supreme guardians of law. They exercise oversight of the
courts and authorities, ensure compliance with the law, and safeguard the rights
The below describes the ombudsman functions in Finland, as submitted by the
Government of Finland:
Ombudsman as an institution is shaped differently in different countries and
legal cultures. In many cases, these institutions follow the so-called Paris
Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions and they also perform
the role of the National Human Rights Institution of their respective countries.
A common feature among them is that the Ombudsman function entails competence to
promote and protect human rights. They may also have a monitoring role and they
are easily accessible for citizens.
In Finland, there are for historical reasons two parallel institutions having
ombudsman functions and both are acting as supreme guardians of law: the
Chancellor of Justice of the Government, appointed by the President of the
Republic, and the Parliamentary Ombudsman elected by the Parliament. The
mandates, status and powers of the Chancellor of Justice and the Parliamentary
Ombudsman are proscribed in the Finnish Constitution. These institutions are
independent, which entails that they do not take any orders from outsiders, be
that the Government or Parliament or any other actor.
The task of both institutions is to exercise oversight of the courts and
They also ensure compliance with the law and safeguard the rights of citizens.
These institutions promote uniform application of the law and they can highlight
ambiguities in the legislation. They carry out their tasks through inspections
and by examining complaints. The monitoring is accomplished by giving guidance
and recommendations to the civil service, and in most extreme situations, by
triggering prosecutions. They pay particular attention to the observance of
fundamental rights and liberties as well as human rights. Observance of law by
the civil service from top down when performing their functions is carried out
by providing an informal, easily accessible, cost-free and lawyer-free channel
for the citizens.
In the daily work, there are some differences in the tasks of these organs. The
Chancellor of Justice supervises the legality of the decision-making of the
Cabinet of Ministers. He has the task of overseeing the legality of the
Government's actions. The Parliamentary Ombudsman who monitors the closed
institutions, such as prisons and mental health institutions, forms part of the
Finnish National Human Rights Institution, together with the newly established
Human Rights Center and the Delegation of Human Rights, where the Office of the
Chancellor of Justice is also represented.
As stipulated in the Constitution, the Chancellor and Ombudsman have unlimited
access to all public offices, premises and documents despite their
Based on the complaints made by the citizens or on the basis of their own
monitoring visits or initiatives, the Chancellor and Ombudsman can give
guidelines or recommendations, propose compensation or issue reprimands to the
public servant concerned. They can also propose amendments to legislation or
administrative decrees, take initiatives for training of civil servants,
resourcing or re-organizing public service etc. The Chancellor and Ombudsman can
even order charges to be brought against a public official in cases where
serious misconduct in office is suspected. The media coverage often strengthens
the messages transmitted by the actions of these two institutions.
Due to the two-tier system, practical arrangements and rules have been agreed
upon between the two institutions in order to avoid duplication of work. In
principle, a complaint can be made either to the Chancellor of Justice or the
Ombudsman. The Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice do not investigate a
matter at the same time.
The issues which the Chancellor and the Ombudsman deal with cover all sectors of
the Finnish public service and accordingly, the spectrum of different issues is
vast. Certain themes repeat themselves, such as citizens' complaints concerning
the fundamental right to legal safety. Other recurring themes are the right to
have one's case handled without undue delay and to have a reasoned decision in a
court of law or from an administrative authority in a reasonable time. Access to
public documents has also been an issue or a lack of reply to queries directed
to authorities. Sometimes the problem is unwarranted release of confidential
Standard of elderly care at senior citizens' institutions or the rights of a
child in their different aspects have been such issues that both the Chancellor
and the Parliamentary Ombudsman have brought up on their own initiative, among
others the right to equality and safety in education or access to mental health
services and resources of the child care. The treatment of those who have lost
their liberty such as inmates, foreigners without documentation or mental health
patients has a particular focus in the Parliamentary Ombudsman's inspection
In addition to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ombudsman functions are exercised by
the Ombudsman for Non-Discrimination, Ombudsman for Children, and Ombudsman for
Gender Equality whose competencies are based on particular legislation
proscribing their respective mandates, tasks and powers.
Finland made at the 2012 High Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule
of Law a voluntary pledge to engage in a multi-year programme to support Central
Asian states to strengthen the rule of law. Within this framework, Finland
supports the Strengthening Rule of Law and Human Rights to Empower People in
Tajikistan Project implemented by the UNDP. This project focuses on capacity
building of the Ombudsman office in Tajikistan.
Finland's tryst combating violence against women
The Government's five-year multi-sectoral Action Plan to prevent violence
against women reached the end of its mandate period in 2015. The Action Plan
included altogether 66 measures, some of which were carried out without separate
funding. An external evaluation of the Action Plan was conducted and it
demonstrated tangible results. The implementation of the Action Plan initiated
many concrete measures that are also required by the Istanbul Convention. A more
thorough evaluation of the Action Plan's implementation is under way.
Finland is establishing an effective mechanism at the Governmental level to
coordinate national activities to combat all forms of violence against women in
accordance with Article 10 of the Istanbul Convention. The coordination
mechanism will be established in connection with the Ministry of Social Affairs
and Health and will be composed of representatives of various Government
Ministries, as well as representatives of several Governmental and State
Agencies. It will also cooperate with non-governmental organisations. The
coordination mechanism will draft an action plan for a term of four years,
including plans on detailed cross-ministerial monitoring.
A special Chapter of the Finnish Penal Code covers sexual offences and it has
been renewed during the past 12 years more thoroughly and often than any other
Chapter in the Penal Code.
Comprehensive advice and support services for victims of sexual violence and
abuse have been provided from the year 2000 onwards via internet, including
personal advice, factual information and the possibility of participating in
discussion groups. During 2015, over 40 non-governmental organisations and
associations provided extensive online services for victims with over half a
million users annually. The maintenance costs for the online services are
covered from official sources.
In 2016 free of charge support and guidance given by non-governmental
Organisations to women and girls having faced rape/sexual violence and/or
exploitation were further widened and extended. These services have been
available also anonymously and include personal advice, support and counselling,
factual information and service directory on support services.
National guidelines for helping victims of sexual violence is due to be
published in 2016/2017 and district hospitals will be given advice on creating a
local treatment chain for helping victims of rape and other forms of sexual
abuse. The treatment chain is aimed at creating a seamless continuum of a rape
victim's treatment, as well as generating more consistent and uniform nationwide
services. Furthermore, the legal status of the victim is improved by ensuring
the victim's access to legal aid. A rape crisis center is planned to be piloted
in one of the district hospitals.
According to the Act on State Compensation to Producers of Shelter Services the
responsibility for financing the services provided in the shelters for victims
of violence against women as well as domestic violence lies with the State. The
purpose of the law is to guarantee qualitative and comprehensive shelter
services all over the country. The legislation also sets certain requirements
for the competence of the shelter personnel.
The shelter services include high
quality immediate assistance in crises situations, 24/7 living and psycho-social
support, counselling and guidance for all victims regardless of residence and
free of charge. In 2016, a total of 11.3 million euros is allocated to 19
shelters that can accommodate 118 families altogether. The shelters include
places for the Swedish-speaking minority, as well as migrant women and children.
The majority of the shelters are also accessible for persons with disabilities.
Currently, a nationwide free of charge 24/7 helpline service to all victims of
violence is being finalized with the aim of having helpline services available
and functioning in 2016/2017. The helpline service will be established to comply
with the requirements of the Istanbul Convention.
Around 200 judges have been trained to deal with cases on violence against women
and domestic violence.
The analysis indicate that, despite all actions aimed at combating violence
against women, this type of serious human rights abuses still occur in Finland.
The main focus of prevention of violence is in awareness raising and education.
Both general education starting at an early age as well as professional training
are important in influencing attitudes and values. Financial and human resources
should be maintained at an adequate level. Achieving sustainable results takes
time and it is very important to also involve boys and men in all activities
aimed at preventing and ending violence against women and domestic violence.
Understanding the instability of cash bailing system and remedy to it: U.S case
Where the prisoners are divided into two kinds .the convicts & non convicts & in
the US nearly ½ a million of people in local jails haven't been convicted of any
offence, they simply cant afford cash bail. In 2009, the median bail for felony
defendants is $10000 much higher than any american can afford. only 4% of the
people given bails could afford to pay at initial hearing.
Now the law makers and activists have taken thrive to eradicate cash bails.
US attorney general stated when bail was set unreasonably high
, people are behind bars only because they are poor .
Courts started to eliminate cash bail as in turn instead of filling the coffers
of court it burdens the state to feed more mouth that are in jails and an
economic tradeoff when this occurs none of the authorities have answers to the
When a person committing minor crime or offence like shoplifting, petty theft:
- Keep the defendant in jail till trail
- Release without bail, which might be under monitored supervision.
- Set cash bail is collateral supposed to be used to make them show
up for their trail and not to punish them. when they return to court and get
there money back in 2013 the average number of detained pretrial was 28 for Philadelphia
defendants with bail of $ 2000 or less  during this time ,what happens is if
they don't show up for work, they lose their job if they a parent the child
loses a care giver and if they in shelter their housing is gone.
While in jail they would be given the option of pleading guilty and with so much
at stake, many choose to plead guilty instead of waiting for trail that will may
give their freedom. But criminal convictions have long term consequences, when
they findwork or housing they ought to file a detail of prior convictions which
acts as a liability to their credit.
Cash bail isn't fair, for those who cant afford it the system presents a series
of problems that a wealthier defendant is able to avoid it. It is determined by
the money you have and not if you're guilty or not.
D.C Washington courts eliminated this process to a more sophisticated
alternative instead judges use risk assessment report
Illustration: if a shoplifter, or any minor charges offender have a list of
questions to be answered to determine their possibility if being convicted such
as Age, prior convictions, new criminal activity, absconding justice summons,
basing on which either released, conditional release, jailed is taken these
algorithms analyse the data to score for their likelihood to commit new crimes,
this gives narrow road to discretion of the judge directed by guidelines, this
grading can be used against any class of criminals in the matter of granting
This objective standard had sizable encouragement of data is convincing to find,
2017 94% of defendants were released pretrial.
88% returned for every court date 86% weren't arrested during pretrial
This gives the judge for more options under conditional release for drug
testing, n person checking, electronic monitoring.
The decision to remove cash bails saved Washington DC courts to 400 million
dollars a year.
Written By: Syed Shabaz S,
- Journal of law ,economics and organization.US publication 2017
Graduated of BA.LLB (5years)-Legal
Counsel, DG Institute Financial Services, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Email: [email protected]