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Prison System Adviser

Requisition ID:  12269
Region:  Global Deployment Option
Contract type:  Open-ended contract
What we do


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and armed violence. We take action in response to emergencies and at the same time promote respect for international humanitarian law.  We are an independent and neutral organization, and our mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We work closely with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with their International Federation in order to ensure a concerted, rational and rapid humanitarian response to the needs of the victims of armed conflict or any other situation of internal violence. We direct and coordinate the international activities conducted in these situations.


Role Description


The Prison System Adviser provides expert advice to our delegations on all detention-related issues, in line with the ICRC’s Detention Framework. S/he supports the adoption of policies/norms at the national and regional levels that corresponds to international standards/best practices and improve the lives of people deprived of their liberty. S/he helps improve the ICRC’s understanding of prison systems, shares concepts and tools to support the development and implementation of programmes addressing humanitarian issues in prisons. S/he provides technical expertise to delegations and national authorities concerning the management and development of all aspects of prison systems.


Main responsibilities with the ICRC Delegations


  • Participates, as required, in discussions between the respective prison authorities and the delegations regarding strategic and action planning; supports delegations in developing / updating detention strategies and activities aimed at improving conditions of detention and treatment of people deprived of their liberty
  • Takes part in detention visits and by doing so increases understanding of the humanitarian and prison management issues and delivers on-site mentoring of ICRC delegates
  • Gives briefings and delivers training sessions to ICRC delegates on relevant issues in the field of detention and protection
  • Ensures a multidisciplinary approach by liaising closely with other ICRC specialists involved in detention activities (Health Care in detention, Water and Habitat, Economic Security, Legal, delegates in charge of Police and Security Forces)
  • Helps to build the ICRC’s capacity to make interventions at a systemic level and to develop and contribute to relevant projects and activities in close coordination with the detention team
  • In coordination with the detention team and under the supervision of the Protection Coordinator (line manager), contributes to oral and written interventions upon request
  • Takes part in developing or strengthening the delegation’s contact with detention authorities and/or other relevant stakeholders (e.g. judicial bodies, NGOs and detainees’ families)
  • Ensures a complete reporting of his/her work through quarterly reports and end of mission reports and eventually through an external report updating the analysis delivered to the authorities
  • Supports the ICRC in developing regional and global strategies, network and policies on detention by participating as required in external conferences (local, regional and international) and other meetings where prison systems and other penitentiary issues are discussed
  • Assists in producing internal guidelines for detention activities, prepares internal analytical reports as needed, supports each delegation in the yearly planning exercise.


Main responsibilities with the authorities


  • In accordance with the Delegation detention strategy, supports penitentiary authorities in developing and adapting their policies and tools
  • Conducts holistic assessments of penitentiary systems, identifies and analyses related problems, trends, and gaps in policies
  • Assists national authorities in developing long-term strategies and processes for improving the prison system
  • Organizes workshops, round-table discussions and seminars for Penitentiary Administration and when relevant other institutions of the penal chain (judicial authorities, etc.).


Professional experienced required


  • At least 10 years’ experience in senior management/policy roles within places of detention or related criminal justice systems
  • Minimum 2 years’ experience in conducting analysis of detention/related criminal justice systems in conflict affected and fragile states
  • Experience in building capacity and providing advice at both the policy and operational levels, in project and change management, mid to long-term strategic planning processes and reform/development plans
  • Project cycle management experience including demonstrated experience in leading multi-disciplinary 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 systems, in the academic and professional realms (in particular, non-custodial measures and sanctions, 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
  • Proven experience in designing, facilitating and conducting training sessions for a diverse and multi-cultural audience
  • Experience in working in different parts of the world and/or a wide network in these areas would be an asset.


Desired competencies and skills


  • Advanced degree in Social Sciences or Management or Criminal Justice or Certified from a Penitentiary school.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills (both internally and externally at all levels).
  • Confirmed interpersonal skills (mentoring, influencing and negotiating).
  • Analytical, strategic planning and organisational skills.
  • Strongly motivated by humanitarian work.
  • Fluency in French and/or English is required.
  • A third language such as Spanish, Arabic and/or Russian is an asset.
  • Fully conversant with IT tools.
  • Readiness and flexibility to travel.


What we offer


  • A two-week integration course and one month induction mission, outside the first assignment context
  • Rewarding work in a humanitarian and multicultural environment
  • Attractive social benefits
  • Join an ICRC talent pool and be considered for future assignments elsewhere


Additional information


  • Minimum length of assignment 24 months (extendable to 36 months)
  • Willing to accept unaccompanied posting for the first 6 months of assignment
  • Starting date: as soon as possible
  • Deadline of application: 30.09.2019