Evaluating the Impacts of Infrastructure Investments in PNG’s Justice Sector

Port Moresby, Lae, Manus, Bouganville, Papua New Guinea
Government of Papua New Guinea, Tanorama
Justice Services and Stability for Development Program

Among the many challenges to service delivery in Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) justice sector, the lack of fit-for-purpose and inclusive infrastructure deserves some prominence. When a police station is dilapidated and there is no accommodation for senior police, the provision of policing services is problematic at best. When there are no facilities for juvenile offenders, juvenile rehabilitation starts to look like adult incarceration. When survivors of family and sexual violence (FSV) do not have an appropriate facility to report crimes and access referral services, they do not have the support they need, and the cycle of violence continues without the possibility of state-sanctioned redress.

Working together with Tanorama, an indigenous PNG development consultancy, Square Circle evaluated the impact of infrastructure investments in PNG’s justice sector completed under Justice Services and Stability for Development (JSS4D), a four-year program funded by the Government of Australia in partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea. Stakeholder interviews, perception surveys, observational data and digital storytelling to evaluate the impact of five infrastructure investments: a family and sexual violence unit; courtrooms (both adult and juvenile); a police station headquarters; accommodation for police officials; and a juvenile rehabilitation centre.

The report highlights a number of emergent themes and associated recommendations, including: continued investment in justice infrastructure in PNG; leveraging investment impact through co-funding and co-commitment; investing in peri-urban and rural infrastructure; design of a standardized project implementation framework; and development of minimum standards for GEDSI and human rights.

Our approach on this project highlights Square Circle’s commitment to social inclusion. Given that infrastructure is part of a broader ecosystem of actors, power relations, policy settings and bureaucracies, it is not surprising that an intervention into this system, albeit one that produces positive impacts and inclusions, can also create negative impacts and exclusions. Designing out or mitigating these negative impacts and exclusions is a vital part of any infrastructure project.

This project is part of Square Circle’s digital storytelling portfolio. Our written report is supplemented by a video report featuring footage of each infrastructure site, as well as key stakeholder interviews.

Court hearings go to the next day, and the next day. We feel it isn’t right. We’re only boys, we need to go to a court designed for us and meet with a magistrate who is there for us.

(Translation) Buimo Juvenile, Lae, Morobe Province

By institutionalising GEDSI across the project implementation framework, infrastructure exclusion risks will be minimised and positive impacts will be enhanced, helping to contribute to a just, safe and secure society for all.

Dr Tim Grice, Tapora Isorua, Oala Oala-Rarua

"After a week we realized that we have a long queue of women from the front car park all the way to the door, and our police officers would come and say 'Is this another ATM?'"

Study participant, Port Morebsy

Yes you have the building but it is your approach and how you deal with people that will help people trust.

Study participant, Manus Province

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