09TBILISI690, Georgia: INL-funded Legal Socialization Program Launched

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI690 2009-04-08 11:41 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

R 081141Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1343

UNCLAS TBILISI 000690 
 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR INL/AAE, EUR/CARC, EUR/ACE 
 
E.O. 12958: NA 
TAGS: SNAR PGOV GG
SUBJECT: Georgia:  INL-funded Legal Socialization Program Launched 
in the Schools 
 
1. Summary:  The Georgia Legal Socialization Project (GLSP),  funded 
by INL and implemented by Project Harmony, has successfully sent 
Ministry of Internal Affairs neighborhood and patrol police to ninth 
grade classes in order to work with teachers in implementing Project 
Harmony's "Lawful Culture" curriculum.  The GLSP pilot, which was 
launched in January 2008 by the Ambassador, took place in 18 schools 
throughout the country and involved 1,300 students.  The project is 
unique in its approach to prevent juvenile crime since it seeks to 
build relationships between educators, students, parents, and the 
police in order to develop public safety awareness and increase 
crime prevention and civil societydevelopment.  According to 
UNICEF, which implements a number of juvenile justice programs in 
Georgia, the number of Georgian children prosecuted for juvenile 
offenses has increased by over fifty percent since 2005.  Based on a 
successful assessment of the pilot in March, INL put out a 
solicitation to support the expansion of the project for the 2010 
school year with $150,000 in FY08 funds. 
 
Background 
---------- 
 
2. The GLSP curriculum replaces the Soviet-era model of 
police-community relations and law as a tool of state security and 
punishment, with a culture of interaction and respect.  Project 
Harmony is implementing the GLSP in cooperation with the Ministries 
of Science and Education and of Internal Affairs of Georgia.  Before 
the curriculum was introduced in the schools, the Ministry of 
Internal Affairs identified sixteen police officers to participate 
in a training workshop with educators selected by the Ministry of 
Education last fall.  Police officers were selected based on their 
education and experience working with juveniles. (Note: Of the five 
week basic training course for new police, the Police Academy only 
dedicates three hours to juvenile justice and working with 
juveniles.  INL's new police advisor, however, will be working with 
the Academy at their request, to expand basic and advanced training 
opportunities.)  In the past, neighborhood police officers were 
assigned to a specific community but had little, to no "community 
policing role."  They were viewed in the adversarial enforcer 
paradigm rather than as collaborative problem-solvers.  The 
neighborhood police inspector could only access schools upon 
receiving permission from school administrations. 
 
3. After the completion of the basic training course in Georgia, 
experts from the two ministries traveled to Armenia and the U.S. 
The program in Georgia was modeled on the success of a similar 
program also funded by Project Harmony in Armenia.  The Georgian 
experts consulted on best practices and conducted cite visits to 
Community Justice Centers in Yerevan and Gyumri.  They also visited 
Juvenile Rehabilitation Centers in Armenia which are credited for a 
significant reduction in crime due to the rehabilitation and 
remobilization of youth who take part in center programs. 
 
4. In Vermont (headquarters of Project Harmony International), the 
Georgian participants visited Community Justice Centers which offer 
volunteer, citizen-delivered restorative processes as a first step 
in dealing with conflict and petty crime.  The centers are 
community-oriented and empower communities to make decisions; 
justice committees are made up of volunteers.  Studies have found 
that these centers raise awareness of civic responsibility among 
citizens, law enforcers and offenders.  The group also met with High 
School Reparative Board members and School Resource Officers (SRO) 
whose job it is to facilitate communication between schools and 
Qwhose job it is to facilitate communication between schools and 
parents. 
 
 
Completion of Pilot and Recommendations 
--------------------------------------- 
 
5. In March 2009, a Project Harmony assessment team from the U.S. 
visited Georgia and met with government officials, other 
implementers in Georgia, and INL.  The pilot program has received 
kudos from the communities involved.  Students, parents, and 
teachers report they have increased trust in and respect for the 
police and an increased awareness of their rights and civic 
responsibilities.  Students are less fearful of police and some 
reported this experience had made them think about becoming police 
officers.  In addition, the GLSP has seemingly won the support of 
both the Ministry of Education and Science and Internal Affairs. 
(Note: The MOIA has not, however, embraced the idea of permanently 
assigning School Resource Officers to schools.) 
 
6. INL hopes to continue funding future programs that extend this 
legal socialization project to more schools, including in the 
minority areas of Georgia since the GLSP pilot has proven effective 
in reducing the risk of criminality among Georgian teenagers.  INL 
would like to see future program implementers consider the utility 
of peer-to-peer curriculum instruction, using real-life case 
studies, and expanding the target student audience to including a 
wider age range (ex: grades 7-12) with the goal of one day, 
supporting the government's desire to institute a national 
curriculum.  Lastly, INL will explore possible synergies with the 
"community prosecution" program that the Ministry of Justice has 
directed prosecutors thro
ughout the country to implement 
immediately.  "Community prosecution" will include elements of 
school out-reach and juvenile justice. 
 
TEFFT

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