National Council of Justice and UNODC Brazil launch online course to strengthen pre-trial detention hearings

Aiming to guarantee continuous training and improving the process for pre-trail detention, the National Council of Justice (CNJ), in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Brazil, launched the online course of the virtual module of the Collection for Strengthening Pre-trial Detention Hearings. The interactive content is based on five publications that detail issues such as decision-making in custody hearings, the use of handcuffs, and parameters for services for people in custody. Judges are the main target audience, but the course is open to anyone interested and access is free, with a certificate issued.

The 340-minute course was prepared in the context of the “Fazendo Justiça” programme, coordinated by the CNJ in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to accelerate transformations in the field of deprivation of liberty. UNODC was in charge of the pre-trial detention component of the programme which, in addition to producing five manuals, informative material and reference publications, also developed the online course. The training is available in two platforms: the Centre for Training and Improvement of Judiciary Servants (CEAJUD) and the UNODC Global E-learning Platform.

● CEAJUD: available here;

● UNODC Global E-learning Platform: available here.

According to UNODC Brazil representative Elena Abbati, the Common Position on Incarceration of the United Nations System highlights the importance of policies and institutes that aim to reduce prison overcrowding. "The importance of such policies are exemplified by pre-trial detention hearings, which can enable greater rationalization at the gateway to the prison system and guarantee the rights of prisoners, in accordance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules)."

"The course is a way of making permanent the dissemination of knowledge and reflections that have mobilized the judiciary in recent years around the issue, such as the debates that took place in the High Studies Network on Pre-trial Detention Hearings, as well as in the materials that gave rise to the course and that were produced in broad dialogue with the national judiciary," stated the coordinator of the Department for Monitoring and Inspection of the Prison System and the System for the Execution of Socio-Educational Measures (DMF), Luís Lanfredi.

Karen Luise Vilanova Souza, an assistant judge in the CNJ Presidency who works at the DMF, believes that the online tool will allow for greater dissemination of content, not only to new audiences, but to the judiciary itself. "With this e-learning programme, we are establishing a permanent training policy for judges in Brazil, including those entering their careers. We also believe that the online course can more easily reach the districts that are not in the capital cities."

Course structure

The training has five modules, each based on a manual. Two of them provide legal content to support decision-making, whether in general cases or considering specific profiles and crimes. There are also modules on social protection, preventing and combating torture and the use of handcuffs.

In addition to the manuals, the Virtual Module incorporates the reflections of the High Studies Network on Pre-trial detention Hearings, which held regional and national events between April and May 2021. There were 16 national meetings, as well as dozens of state and regional ones, aimed at promoting the sharing of experiences and fostering the improvement and strengthening of custody hearings across the country. With almost 2,000 participants, it included members of state and federal courts, academics and even international representatives.

With information from the CNJ News Agency

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