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Improving the Dominican Republic’s Criminal Justice System

The Dominican Republic Criminal Justice System Strengthened Project improves the country’s criminal justice system by improving judicial institutions, expediting prosecutions, and improving vulnerable groups’ access to legal protection. 

The Dominican Republic’s Public Ministry has a limited capacity to absorb new cases, which has led to low prosecution rates and ineffective coordination among criminal justice institutions. These limitations have also led to low access to justice in marginalized areas, where crime rates and public demand for justice are the highest.

The Criminal Justice System Strengthened Project, funded by USAID, builds on a national strategy for citizen security to further improve justice sector reforms. The objective is to strengthen the criminal justice system by improving the quality and effectiveness of prosecutions.

The project has two main strategies, the first of which is increasing prosecutor effectiveness. This is achieved by strengthening management systems of criminal cases, including case management and case tracking systems; implementing institutional workflow analysis and personnel management reforms; and a greater use of alternative dispute resolution and sentencing models. The program also works with civil society to operate a network of community justice houses in vulnerable and crime-ridden communities to provide greater access to the formal justice system and legal protection.

The second strategy is strengthening prosecutor and police oversight, which is achieved by change management techniques for institutional reforms to increase transparency, access to information, and internal oversight of prosecutors and police. The project also partners with local civil society to provide external oversight of the prosecutors and police through monitoring and advocacy to improve professionalism and transparency.

These activities are part of a broader strategy to create a stronger criminal justice system in the Dominican Republic, one that the public can put its trust in and be guaranteed adequate levels of legal protection. Such efforts will help the country provide its citizens with high-quality legal services and lay a stronger foundation for community peace and stability.

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