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ICRC Prison Systems Adviser

Requisition ID:  15234
Region:  Global Deployment Option
Contract type:  Open-ended contract

Your role at the ICRC


As the Prison Systems Adviser, you will be responsible for support to the delegation(s) in their relations and activities with the prison authorities, initially familiarizing yourself with the criminal justice aspects of the countries they work in, including through visiting the places of detention to which the ICRC has access as part of the detention team and subsequently making visits as required in order to maintain an updated picture of the situation there and to assess the impact of initiatives undertaken on the lives of detainees held there. You will also be focused on providing expert advice to ICRC operations on all detention-related issues, in line with the Detention Framework. The responsibilities also encompass supporting the adoption of policies at regional level that correspond with international standards and improve the lives of people deprived of liberty. The Prison Systems Adviser will help to supervise the improvement of the organization’s understanding of prison systems, by supporting the implementation of programs that address humanitarian issues in prisons. This contribution will be used to ensure that the ICRC detention action and respective strategies remain coherent and relevant. You will support the implementation of any prison management development projects. 


Responsibilities with the ICRC operations


  • Participate in discussions between the prison authorities and the ICRC delegations; support in developing/updating, and advising on detention strategies and activities aimed at improving treatment of people deprived of their liberty and conditions of detention 
  • Take part in detention visits and by doing so increase understanding of the humanitarian and prison management issues and deliver mentoring to ICRC detention staff
  • Give briefings and deliver training sessions to ICRC employees on issues in the field of detention and protection
  • Ensure a multidisciplinary approach by communicating closely with ICRC specialists involved in detention activities 
  • Help to build capacity to make interventions and to contribute to projects in coordination with the detention team
  • Develop or strengthen the ICRC contacts with detention authorities, and/or other relevant partners (e.g. judicial bodies, NGOs and detainees’ families) in the country and in the region
  • Ensure regular reporting of your work through quarterly, End of Mission reports, and eventually through an external report updating the analysis delivered to the authorities
  • Support the ICRC in developing regional and global strategies. Also develop networking and up-to-date knowledge on detention by participating in conferences (local, regional and international) and other meetings where prison systems and penitentiary issues are discussed
  • Assist (in conjunction with Headquarters) in producing guidelines for detention activities and support each ICRC delegation in the yearly planning exercise.

Duties with the authorities


  • Conduct assessments of penitentiary systems
  • Assist authorities in crafting strategies and processes for improving the prison system
  • Coordinate training, workshops, and seminars for penitentiary administrations and, when relevant, other institutions in the penal chain.


Required professional experience


  • At least 10 years of experience in senior management/policy roles within places of detention or related criminal justice systems
  • Minimum 2 years of experience in conducting analyses of detention in conflict affected and fragile states
  • Experience and expertise in building capacity at both the policy and operational levels, in project and change management, mid to long-term planning processes and reform/development plans
  • Experience in developing multi-disciplinary activities, strategies and teams
  • Confirmed experience in fostering compliance with international standards and promoting good practice in detention and criminal justice systems
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the main problems and current debates relating to detention and criminal justice, in the academic and professional realms (in particular, non-custodial measures and sanctions, mental health, sentence management, overcrowding, drugs and detention, and vulnerable groups)
  • Experience in developing strategy; addressing issues related to overcrowding (mitigating its consequences but also acting on its legal and judicial causes); and supporting the design, and construction of the prison estate would be valuable
  • Experience in working in different parts of the world and/or a wide network in these areas would be an asset.

Required competencies, skills and background


  • Advanced degree in Social Sciences or Management or Criminal Justice or Certified from a Penitentiary school.
  • Strong communication skills, and excellent interpersonal skills (mentoring, influencing and negotiating).
  • Analytical, strategic planning and organizational skills.
  • Strong humanitarian work motivation
  • Excellent command of English and including French and/or Spanish (C1 level) or including Arabic and/or Russian (B2 level)
  • Good command of IT tools.
  • Readiness and flexibility to travel.
  • Willingness to accept unaccompanied posting for the first 6 months of assignment.

What we offer


  • Rewarding work in a humanitarian and multicultural environment
  • Attractive social benefits
  • Joining an ICRC talent pool and being considered for future assignments elsewhere
  • One return trip per year to the employee’s contractual domicile
  • Maternity and adoption leave of four months and paternity leave of ten days.

Application and hiring information:


  • Application closing date: 6th February 2022
  • Starting date: as soon as possible
  • Minimum length of assignment 24 months (extendable to 36 months) with a paid leave of at least 20 days per year

The ICRC values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates. Apply today!