Saturday, July 01, 2006

Justice begins with having just prisons

They are sending them to another Auschwitz.

In too many countries around the world when judges sentence people to prisons, they are in fact sentencing them to another Auschwitz in terms of the absolute disrespect those places show for the most basic human rights, and worse the judges cannot even start to claim they didn’t know. When will the International Criminal Court in The Hague start to investigate these crimes against humanity? Also, many ongoing judicial-reform processes would do well to reflect upon the fact that civilized prison systems do more for justice than majestic Supreme Court buildings.

Forget justice and fight the injustices

Justice is something very difficult to understand with precision, since it is situated along a continuum that becomes finite only when it reaches Divine Justice. On the other hand, injustices are much easier to identify and, in our countries, prisons themselves represent one of the greatest injustices. In terms of the use of scarce resources, as an economist I am convinced that programs of Judicial Reforms would be much better served by improving prisons than by investing in Supreme Courts.

We need minimum standards

The world needs to adhere to some absolutely minimum set of global good prison practices and allow all prisons to be subjected to an ISO 9000-type quality certification.