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JPO in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime - UNODC – Junior Professional Officer Program (JPO)

I. General Information

Title: JPO in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Sector of Assignment: Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Prison Reform
Organization/Office: Justice Section, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Country and Duty Station: Vienna, Austria
Duration of assignment: 2 years with possibility of extension for another year (Extension of appointment is subject to yearly review concerning priorities, availability of funds, and satisfactory performance.)

Please note that for participants of the JPO-Programme two years work experience are mandatory! Internships/scholarships can be counted at 50% if they were full time and are regarded as relevant professional experience. Remuneration is not the determining factor. We only count internships after the Bachelor's degree.

II. Supervision

Direct Supervision by:
1st Reporting Officer: Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer; Focal Point for Prison Reform (P-4)
2nd Reporting Officer: Chief, Justice Section (P-5)

Title of Supervisor:
Under the overall guidance of the Chief, Justice Section, the JPO will work under the direct supervision of a Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, who serves as the Section’s thematic focal point for prison reform.

Content and methodology of supervision:
Establishment of a Work Plan: During the first month of the assignment, the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) will work jointly with his/her direct supervisor to finalize an agreed upon work plan. The final work plan will be discussed and mutually agreed to by the JPO and his/her supervisor. Supervision will further entail work assignments, discussion, and approval of a time-bound work plan, regular guidance on how to accomplish work goals, routine review of work progress, review of all products, and periodic informal and formal assessment of performance.

The United Nations Performance Evaluation System (e-performance) will serve as a primary platform to evaluate of the JPO’s performance.

III. Duties, Responsibilities and Output Expectations

The JPO will provide professional support to the Justice Section, in particular in the area of prison reform, with a focus on promoting the practical application of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules). As such, he or she will be part of the team working on the implementation of UNODC’s Global Programme on Addressing Prison Challenges (GLOZ85). Specific areas of focus and geographical areas/countries covered will be determined as relevant at the time of the initial appointment. Specific tasks within this general framework will be established through the incumbent’s work plan.

Tasks will generally entail carrying out the following substantive, organizational, and coordination tasks in the above mentioned areas of the Justice Section’s work:

- Strengthening the delivery of UNODC technical assistance in the area of prison reform: Preparing desk reviews of relevant laws, policies and measures; preparing and participating, as required, in needs assessment or programming missions; providing assistance and contributions for developing and implementing strategies, programmes and projects at the national, sub-regional, and regional level to support governments in applying the international standards and norms on crime prevention and criminal justice, in particular the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules), the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for NonCustodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules), and the United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems; preparing and maintaining up-to-date periodic implementation reports and programme data.

- Enhancing UNODC’s pool of expertise in the areas of prison reform, building on the Office’s guidance material already developed in this field: Analysing data and information on crime patterns, root causes and trends; compiling and assessing national policies and practices; carrying out comparative analysis of data in sub-regional, regional, and international perspectives; contributing, through substantive inputs, to the preparation of research and policy papers; preparing and coordinating briefing notes, situation reports, background papers and presentations.

- Supporting the development of project proposals, technical tools and training materials in the field of prison reform: Contributing substantive input through research, analysis, and drafting for review and finalization by senior staff; preparing Terms of Reference for international consultants; drafting concept notes; reviewing draft texts and other products developed by consultants; and organizing expert group meetings.

- Supporting the facilitation of knowledge exchange on promising practices in prison management and conceptualizing, organizing, and servicing workshops and conferences to this effect.

- Servicing policy-making bodies: Supporting the preparation of documentation and records for and servicing of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, as well as intergovernmental expert group meetings, as applicable.

- Fostering partnerships with United Nations, other relevant agencies and organizations as well as donors: Participating in consultation with partners on penal reform, preparing and making presentations on these subjects; facilitating liaison and developing synergies.

- Assisting in the operational implementation of prison reform activities on the ground, as appropriate, including, as required, liaising with government counterparts, relevant United Nations and other international agencies including local civil society organizations, participating in local meetings and trainings, ensuring timely project reviews, monitoring and reporting.

- Carrying out other tasks as assigned.

IV. Qualifications and Experience

Master’s Degree in criminal law, international law, criminology, international relations or in a closely related field, with adequate focus on penal reform, is required.

Work experience:
A minimum of two years professional experience in crime prevention and criminal justice matters, including in planning and managing pertinent international development or technical cooperation programmes.

Fluency in English, with excellent drafting skills, is essential; knowledge of other UN official languages is considered an important asset.

Other skills:
Full computer literacy and proficiency to working with all common Microsoft applications (word, excel, etc.).

UN competencies - Core values and Core Competencies:
- Professionalism: Sound knowledge of policies and practices with respect to criminal justice and penal reform, including prison management/reform, as well as professional competence and mastery of subject matter. Ability to analyse policies and review documents to formulate effective strategies.

- Planning and Organising: Ability to develop goals that are consistent with agreed upon strategies; identification of priority activities and assignments, including adjusting these over time, as required; allocation of appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foreseeing risks and ability to engage in risk mitigation strategies; efficient use of time.

- Client orientation: Ability to establish and maintain productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect, by identifying clients’ needs and matching them to appropriate solutions and by meeting timeline for delivery of products or services to client.

- Teamwork: Good interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity, including gender balance.

V. Learning Elements

The JPO will be involved in implementing specific aspects of the programme of work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in particular related to its Global Programme on Addressing Prison Challenges, and will receive guidance, supervision, and on the job training on a regular basis. Additional training opportunities may become available through participation and attendance in specialized substantive events that focus on crime prevention and criminal justice. These may include the organization and implementation of field missions, seminars, workshops and other trainings.

Through the assignment, the JPO will gain improved substantive knowledge of the working of the policy-making and normative structures and technical assistance of the United Nations system, particularly in relation to penal reform.

The JPO will also gain substantive work experience and exposure in areas related to the overall work of the United Nations in the field of development cooperation and assistance, and to the related negotiation, coordination and implementation processes. The experience will be comprehensive in a unique manner, as the JPO will support both the conceptualization, planning and coordination of activities in Headquarters, as well as the organization and implementation on the ground, by supporting local Field Offices.

The JPO will furthermore gain experience in programme development, monitoring and management; improve skills in research and analysis; and in preparing various policy and programme documents.

VI. Background Information

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is mandated to implement both the organization’s Drug and Crime Programme in an integrated manner, addressing the interrelated issues of drug control, crime prevention and criminal justice, and international terrorism in the context of sustainable development and human security.

UNODC is the central drug control entity of the United Nations with exclusive responsibility for coordinating and providing effective leadership for all United Nations drug control activities. UNODC is also responsible for activities in the field of international crime prevention and control, with special focus on strengthening regional and international cooperation in preventing and combating transnational crime, in particular organized and economic crime, money laundering, illicit trafficking in women and children, financial crimes and terrorism in all its forms.

Furthermore, UNODC acts as the custodian of the international standards and norms in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice, including those specifically designed for the management of prison facilities and the treatment of prisoners, in particular the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is organized into four divisions: The Division for Treaty Affairs, the Division for Operations, the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs and the Division for Management. Further background information on the work of the UNODC is available at the UNODC’s web site (

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