Arizona Supreme Court Clerk Janet Johnson recently participated in a team assessment of the Jamaican criminal court system to evaluate and make recommendations for improved data collection. Ms. Johnson’s assignment to this team was made possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts to help promote the rule of law overseas.
As part of the assessment team, Ms. Johnson traveled to Kingston, Jamaica, along with INL’s Justice Team member Debra Perlin. There they joined Gary Rex and Tessa Lewin of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) Section of Embassy Kingston and participated in meetings with key members of the Jamaican judiciary and other interested entities. Through these meetings, the U.S. team learned of challenges related to a lack of automated case management systems, limited standardization of processes and procedures, and inefficiencies in collecting and sharing data across the criminal justice system. Taking all of these challenges into consideration, the assessment team prepared a report on how to move forward with designing a criminal data collection system that will be shared with the Government of Jamaica.
The Jamaican judiciary enjoys broad support from an active and involved Chief Justice, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of National Security, the Jamaican Bar Association, the Jamaican Constabulary Force, and the international donor community. This support will be critical in galvanizing public support and political will to resolve the data sharing and collection challenges the Jamaican judiciary faces. Further, the resulting report and recommendations provide the Government of Jamaica and the international donor community an opportunity to strategically strengthen and expand their commitment to Jamaican justice sector reform.
Arizona AOC is one of the 70 state and local criminal justice agencies across the United States that work with INL on its foreign assistance programs.