CSPRI hosts a round table on South Africa's Remand Detention White Paper

The Chief Deputy Commissioner for Remand in the Department of Correctional Services, Ms Britta Rotmann, explained the thinking behind the final draft white paper on remand detention at a roundtable in Cape Town on 23 May 2013.

The White Paper on Remand Detention Management seeks to fill the policy gap which is created by recent amendments to the Correctional Services Act. These amendments clarify that it is the Department of Correctional Services which is responsible for housing remand detainees, after their first appearance in court. Such detainees may not be held in police cells beyond their first appearance.

The roundtable heard an analysis from CSPRI researcher Jean Redpath regarding evidence on the trends since 1995, which indicate a tripling of the remand population due primarily to an increase in the length of time remand detainees spend in remand detention, rather than an increase in admissions to remand.

Participants provided insights into their own experience of problems relating to remand. Venessa Padayachee of NICRO, for example, raised concerns over the lack of guarding of remand detainees in court holding cells, rendering them vulnerable to victimisation.

The White Paper will run through a series of government and public consultations before being formally adopted. These are as follows:

  • Draft to National Development Committee Director-Generals' meeting (May/June 2013)
  • Draft to the JCPS cluster Ministes' meeting (June 2013)
  • Draft to Cabinet and Cabinet Committee Meeting (August 2013)
  • Draft to Portofolio Committee for Parliamentary public consultation process (September 2013).

 

 

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