Corruption risk assessment within the Malian penitentiary system

Bamako, Mali 29 June 2022 A strong and effective criminal justice chain is essential in the fight against impunity. Corruption hinders the fight against crime and undermines the performance of all sectors along the criminal justice chain, including the prison sector. The penitentiary system is not immune from  risks of corruption, which can degrade prison safety and security and make prisons more vulnerable to pressure from organized criminal groups and extremist violence.

In this context, Dr Amado de Andrés, UNODC Regional Director for West and Central Africa, states that: “To effectively fight corruption, we have to look at the whole judicial chain: investigation, cooperation among criminal justice actors, cooperation with other jurisdictions in Latin America and Europe, issues related to imprisonment, and rehabilitation.”

In response, after undertaking a similar process in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2021 in collaboration with MINUSCA, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is supporting Mali in conducting a corruption risk assessment within its penitentiary sector, as part of a joint project with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Missions in Mali (MINUSMA).

UNODC and Mali’s National Directorate of Penitentiary Administration and Supervised Education(DNAPES) gathered fifteen managers occupying key functions within DNAPES and in various penitentiary institutions in Bamako and beyond, to assess and mitigate corruption risks in the prison sector, in collaboration with MINUSMA.

A first workshop held in Bamako on 23- 24 May 2022 allowed participants to identify and prioritize corruption risks in various processes of the penitentiary system, such as recruitments, prison management and financial operations. The activity built on an in-depth initial assessment of the current situation and potential vulnerabilities within the penitentiary system undertaken in 2021, as part of UNODC’s Support project with MINUSMA, launched in 2020, and within the framework of its Sahel Programme.

During a second workshop held from 27 to 29 June 2022 in Bamako, participants examined the underlying causes fueling the key risks identified and designed tailored corruption risk mitigation strategies thereof. The process led to the adoption of a Corruption Risk Mitigation Plan comprising concrete measures, linked to reasonable timeframes and the necessary resources to properly implement them. The Malian authorities will now follow-up with participants on the best course of action to materialize priority mitigation strategies.