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Corruption risks in the criminal justice chain and tools for assessment

This U4 issue paper provides policymakers in developing nations, their citizens, and U4’s partners in the donor community with an overview of where corruption is most likely to arise in the investigation, prosecution, trial, and incarceration stages of the criminal justice process. Each chapter focuses on a specific stage, providing a summary of the principal decision makers involved, the tasks they perform, the most common types of corruption risk, the tools available to assess the risks, and, where sufficient experience exists, an evaluation of the usefulness of these assessment tools. While some basic risk management approaches are noted, the emphasis is on analysis and assessment of problems.

Much of what is known about corruption at the different stages of the criminal justice system comes from developed country experiences. In many cases, however, the drivers of corruption are the same across all countries. In using the available set of tools to assess corruption risks in criminal trials and appeals, the greatest challenge for practitioners is finding the relevant parts of general assessment tools that assess the particular corruption risks. The paper concludes with an appeal for integrated corruption risk assessment tools and accessible reporting. Only a sector-wide lens will allow identification of the linkages and dependencies within the criminal justice chain, providing a basis for targeted reform efforts and a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy.

Also available in Russian and French
13 March 2015
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Corruption risks in the criminal justice chain and tools for assessment

Cite this publication

Messick, R.; Jennett, V.; Hill, G.; Gramckow, H.; Albanese, J.; Schütte, S.; (2015) Corruption risks in the criminal justice chain and tools for assessment. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue null)

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Richard E. Messick
Victoria Jennett

Dr Victoria Jennett has a 20-year career working for and advising governments, international organisations, and NGOs on how to reform justice systems to prevent corruption and promote human rights. She carries out corruption risk assessments, researches and publishes on corruption and justice issues, and co-teaches the U4 course on corruption in the justice sector.

Gary Hill
Heike Gramckow
Jay S. Albanese

Dr. Sofie Arjon Schütte leads U4’s thematic work on the justice sector, including specialised institutions like anti-corruption agencies and courts. Previously, she worked for the Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia and the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission and has conducted workshops and short-term assignments on corruption in more than 15 countries. She is editor of the series of U4 publications on anti-corruption courts around the world.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)