Supporting Rights and Justice

INL’s work with partner nations is designed to help reduce crime, promote public safety, and ensure that citizens of those countries have access to a functioning and fair justice system. This requires engaging across the entire spectrum of criminal justice, including with law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and correctional institutions, to build a fair, transparent, and accountable justice system. A public that has confidence in law enforcement, its prisons, and courts strengthens the stability and resiliency of a nation, which benefits the security of Americans.

Working with other U.S. government agencies, international organizations, civil society, and state and local partners, INL assists nations around the world as they seek to develop or improve their capacity to tackle corruption, fight crime, and administer justice.

Law Enforcement: INL builds technical skills of foreign law enforcement personnel through training and technical assistance on topics such as crime scene investigation, conducting forensic analysis, and crowd control. Most training takes place in host countries; however training is also conducted in the United States and at regional venues overseas such as the INL-managed International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs). We provide advice and mentoring to government ministries that oversee law enforcement functions, and assist in institutional police reform so that they are more representative of and accountable to the communities they serve. INL also works with local communities abroad to promote better police-community communication and cooperation. Where necessary and when resources permit, INL also provides equipment and infrastructure support.

Justice: A well-functioning justice sector is composed of many elements, including: the courts and their administration, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, legislative drafting on crime-related issues, training institutes, and even alternative courts for specific types of offenses, such as drug courts. INL supports justice sector capacity building and institutional development by providing training, mentoring, and advice, as well as equipment and infrastructure where necessary and appropriate.

INL also seeks out opportunities to bring together different actors in the criminal justice system (e.g. police, judges, prosecutors, and correctional officials), for joint training and/or discussions because their collaboration and effective communication is crucial to developing and maintaining a fair, effective, transparent, and accountable justice system.

Corrections: Fighting crime is at the heart of INL’s mission. When prisons are not run professionally, or are operated in an inhumane or corrupt manner, they can become safe havens for criminal organizations, gangs, and other criminal activity. This can lead to an erosion of broader public support for government institutions and the justice sector in particular.

INL assists nations in reforming correctional systems so they are safe, secure, humane, transparent, and comply with international standards and norms. We deliver training to professionals; help guide process improvements, such as the classification of prisoners and the use of alternatives to incarceration; provide advice on institutional reform; and improve prison infrastructure where appropriate. INL also participates in establishing global standards on corrections policy, and is proud to have been an active supporter of the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMRs), known as The Nelson Mandela Rules, which were updated in 2015 after almost 50 years.

Promoting Women: INL understands that sometimes anti-crime program effectiveness can benefit greatly from incorporating gender-specific approaches. While INL supports important programs with a gender focus– like supporting networking among women police and judges and development of sexual and gender-based violence prosecutorial units -- INL’s mandate goes beyond specific programs. INL aims to integrate gender considerations into all we do. A full-time expert offers guidance on integrating gender perspectives into INL programming, and assists in the implementation of INL’s Guide to Gender in the Criminal Justice System.

Countering Bias-Motivated Crimes: Crimes motivated by intolerance towards individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity are frequently referred to as bias-motivated crimes, or hate crimes. Recognizing that bias-motivated crimes require practical responses to prevent them from becoming serious security challenges for individuals and the larger community, INL helps bolster the capacity of criminal justice practitioners to prevent, investigate, and respond to bias-motivated violence. For example, INL partners with hate crimes experts in the Atlanta Police Department to train foreign law enforcement officials on responding to bias-motivated violence at the International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs).

Best Practices: INL has produced practical guides designed to educate and share best practices with U.S. and overseas staff, INL partners, and the public. This includes guides on police, justice sector, and corrections assistance, as well as on topics such as anti-corruption and gender in the criminal justice system. While INL’s core work is focused on developing capacity in individual countries or regions, INL experts also identify best practices in the criminal justice system that can improve how we design, manage, and implement international criminal justice development programming around the world.