UNDP / South Sudan - Development of National Prison Service of South Sudan (NPSSS) web portal to Strengthen their Rule of Law Institutions
To ensure the delivery of accountable, effective and equitable justice services in South Sudan, UNDP in partnership with the rule of law institutions of South Sudan undertook a project to establish a vocational training centre (VTC) in Juba Central Prisons as a pilot to empower inmates and reduce recidivism. This project successfully commenced with 8 courses in 2016 and has increased to 12 courses as of 2019. This is a massive improvement because the state of prison services in South Sudan has suffered from poor infrastructure and inadequate access to resources for renovations or upgrades.
Also, the prolonged wars destroyed the prison infrastructures as most of the prisons in the country are thatched huts or temporary structures built with local materials. However, with the help of the VTC, a sustainable business plan was built to improve the prison services.
To ensure the sustainability of the vocational training programmes, and better manage inmates and resources, the UNDP South Sudan and NPSS consulted with Bewsys to develop a vocational management information system (VTMIS) with a front-end/ user-interface on a website. This system was aimed at enabling the NPSS to efficiently support and monitor the VTC program beneficiaries and make guided decisions to improve the lives of prison inmates.
Considering the need to design, build and implement an intelligent system, Bewsys was contracted by UNDP South Sudan to develop a vocational management information system (VTMIS) with a front-end/ user-interface on a website. To meet the requirements needed to create the VTMIS, the technical team reviewed the institutional framework, reports, policies, and manuals on the NPSS VTC. This helped gather information about attendance and inmate management, timetable and examination management, facilities and asset management, and financial management. This served as a guide in establishing the user and systems guidelines needed to design and develop the VTMIS.
The system was custom-built on the registration, case management, system administration, and report generation modules of the Bewsys Social Protection MIS. The content management feature of the VTMIS was designed to consider easy updates of content on the website without the need for technical programming competencies at the NPSS. Open-source based content management was also facilitated in the design of the website to ensure cost-effectiveness and flexibility in managing the website. The system was also designed to support two languages: Arabic and English for inclusive usability.
The VTC is contributing to building robust, inclusive and accountable institutions to promote peaceful societies as expected by SDG 16. According to a 2019 report by the UNDP, the vocational training program has contributed to training over 591 inmates and 139 prison personnel across the 12 trades. The VTMIS was inaugurated in May 2019 during the graduation ceremony of the fourth batch of 172 inmates.
The development of the VTMIS has helped track the progress of released trainees. A released inmate said, “although it’s difficult for many to get formal employment on release, I’m hopeful that what they learn will spread and become something good”. While the VTC program is supporting the prison inmates in South Sudan reclaim their future, it also seeks to ensure sustainability and promote indigenous expertise.