Duration of the project: 2021-2022
Partners: Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, APADOR-CH, Center for European Constitutional Law Greece, Fair Trials Europe Belgia, Ligue des droits humains
The goal is to demonstrate the need for and feasibility of equality data collection which contributes to interventions that address direct and indirect discrimination against ethnic minorities and migrants.
The objectives are to:
– Develop a replicable methodology to gather data on disparate impacts of the criminal justice systems on ethnic and migrant groups in EU;
– Obtain data indicating the existence of such impact and the spheres it is most evident;
– Compare the data between the different participating member states;
– Build support from key stakeholders for ongoing collection of equality data in criminal justice systems;
– Build evidence on which to advocate for improved implementation of EU procedural rights and antidiscrimination standards.
There is extensive anecdotal evidence of disparate impacts in criminal justice systems on persons belonging to vulnerable groups (ethnic, religious, migrant, LGBTQ, poor people) in EU member states. These persons are subject to discrimination nd are denied a fair trial in violation of EU law. Data, however, is patchy and there is institutional resistance to more systematic data collection. This impedes the understanding of disparate impacts, their causes and the development of effective policy solutions. Methodologies for collecting data on the impact of the criminal justice systems have been tried since 1999 in some states. The findings indicate serious problems with ensuring the necessary safeguards, incl. those envisaged by the Roadmap Directives, for some participants in the criminal justice systems.
The project builds on and expands the applications of a tested research methodology. Its outcomes will help address the situations of some vulnerable groups and introduce necessary safeguards at the national and European level. It will establish whether the methodology is replicable in other member states as a sustainable and long-term mechanism for assessing disparate impacts in Europe’s criminal justice systems.
Partners in the pilot countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Belgium) will collect official statistical data and will review expert publications on the disparate impact of the criminal justice systems on groups with specific needs. They will conduct national surveys among a representative sample of newly-convicted prisoners focusing on issues related to the existence of procedural guarantees during their pre-trial proceedings and their criminal trials, as well as on the effects of the lack of such guarantees on the exercise of their other fundamental rights.
The survey will gather the responses of app. 3,100 prisoners in the four pilot countries. The findings will be analysed in national reports in the four countries. These will be published after finalisation at the national round table discussions. Draft national reports will be subject to regular communication between partner organisations and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI).
Total no. of surveyed prisoners: up to 3,100 convicted prisoners in up to 55 prisons and prison dormitories in 4 countries:
– Bulgaria – 15 prisons and prison dormitories; 1000 interviewed prisoners;
– Romania – 25 prisons; 1000 interviewed prisoners;
– Greece – 5-7 prisons, 500 interviewed prisoners;
– Belgium – 8 prisons, up to 600 interviewed prisoners.
Co-funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme