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Contest for Law and LL.M Students

27.05.2014

Project: Promoting the use of alternative sanctions in the South Caucasus

Geographic coverage: Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia

Duration:  24 months, from November 2013 till October 2015

Overview

Penal Reform International - South Caucasus office in partnership with Civil Society Institute NGO is implementing a new regional project “Promoting the use of non-custodial sanctions in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia”, financed by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). The Goal of the project is to continue promoting the effective use of non-custodial and early release measures as a way of challenging the overuse of imprisonment and contributing to a decrease in the prison population in the South Caucasus countries as well as proportionate responses to crime. The project will support further increased use of community service as an alternative to imprisonment on one hand, as well as some alternatives and also for the application of parole as a mechanism for early release on the other.

About the contest

The student competition is open to bachelor and master’s degree students of the Law faculties in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The aim of the competition is to increase awareness of students on the benefits of the use of alternative sanctions and measures to imprisonment, to discover the major challenges of the criminal justice policy in their respective countries, to think of new approaches as to how to contribute to an increased application of community service and other alternatives. The contest also seeks to promote students professional interest towards the probation system.

Alternatives maintain some form of treatment element for offenders, such as educational development, alcohol and drug treatment, and job training, which can be rehabilitative and preventive in nature. The state saves the cost of housing an inmate. The offender is allowed to remain in the community and avoid a break in family and community ties.

Subject matter

Students of Law Faculties (both bachelor and master’s degree) are invited to submit their essays on the subject of alternatives to imprisonment. Presented essays should provide evidence of author’sgeneral understanding of the criminal justice policy in their respective countries. The essay should also demonstrate critical thinking about the low application of the alternative measures in the respective country.  The essay should contain analysis of one or more alternatives to imprisonment: community service, release mechanisms existing in those countries, such as conditional early release, compassionate release (on health grounds), probation, restriction of liberty, bail, personal guarantee and etc.

Contestants should precisely explain what the state’s policy (legislation and practice) is in dealing with challenges of release mechanisms and community sanctions/measures, possible steps to implement that policy and what kind of obstacles can be overcome to implement it and identify the limitations of the policy. Presented essays should state author’s reasonable arguments which would enable lobbing the ideas before the governmental bodies.

Outlining and referencing successful International/European standards and practices with respect to the alternative sanctions and measures in the essay will be an asset.

· Participants must be bachelor and master’s degree students at the time of application

· The essay must be submitted in Word Doc. format to the e-mail address: mbobokhidze@penalreform.org and copied to zara@csi.am Please enter “Student Contest” in subject line of your email.

· To allow for thoughtful consideration of the essay topic, your essay should be at least 1,500 words, but no more than 2,000 words. Please provide proper citations for the sources you use; finalists’ essays will be checked for possible plagiarism and for the sources they have cited.

· The essay must be written in English.

Awards:

1st place - 500 USD (local currency equivalent)

2nd place - 400 USD (local currency equivalent)

3rd places - 300 USD (local currency equivalent)

First place winner author will be invited to the regional conference in Tbilisi to make a presentation.

All three place winners’ essays will be published in the scientific magazines.

Essay Contest jury:

Special commission consisting of officials from the Probation Service, invited lawyers, academic and NGO representatives will discuss submitted contest papers and will make decision on the essays.

Indicative timetable:

Essay submission deadline: 20 June, 2014
Announcement of finalists: 10 July, 2014

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