ACJR Publications

This section contains ACJR publications and those of CSPRI (Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative), its predecessor.
Research Reports
  • Summary report on consultations with civil society stakeholders: “The NPA that we want”
    Much of the media attention given to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is ... Much of the media attention given to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is centered on high-level corruption investigations, especially linked to the Zondo Commission’s findings and recommendations. While this is important, it should also be asked what happens at ground-level in our courts where ordinary cases are heard on a daily basis. The question can indeed be asked: What are our expectations of the NPA when having to engage with the criminal justice system as a victim, witness or even an accused? Do we know what we want from the NPA in real and practical terms? In June and July 2022 ACJR commissioned a series of consultation workshops with stakeholders to discuss these questions and develop descriptions of “the NPA that we want”. The consultations yielded valuable observations and insights, demonstrating on the one hand that people generally have a deep understanding of the challenges facing the NPA and, on the other hand, clear understandings of what they expect of the NPA, especially as these relate to the four core values of professionalism, independence, accountability, and credibility.
    Oct 17, 2022
  • Report - Overview and key findings COVID-19 restrictions and the impact on criminal justice and human rights (Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa & Zambia)
    This report makes a number of overview observations dealing with broader issues ... This report makes a number of overview observations dealing with broader issues of governance, human rights, the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the criminal justice system. A central lesson to be taken from these findings is the need for continued vigilance in seeking a balancing of rights and the importance of evidence-based policy-making, especially where there is the potential that those already socio-economically vulnerable may be pushed deeper into poverty. Report by L Muntingh, J Mangwanda & K Petersen
    Jul 29, 2022
  • Annexure One: COVID-19 restrictions and the impact on criminal justice and human rights | Kenya
    Report by J Mangwanda & K Petersen (2022) ... Report by J Mangwanda & K Petersen (2022)
    Jul 28, 2022
Peer-reviewed Publications
  • Journal Article: Prison protests in South Africa: A conceptual exploration
    This article explores the nature and causes of prisoner protests, looking at it ... This article explores the nature and causes of prisoner protests, looking at it first from a sociological perspective and second, a rights perspective. The fact that people end up in prison following due process does not mean that their imprisonment is not a contested arena in the sense that prisoners are generally aware of their rights, even when curtailed. Importantly, this curtailment has boundaries - prisoners do not lose all their rights and it seems that this particular issue is frequently the locus of tension, and sometimes conflict, between prisoners and prison administration. There is nothing in South African law prohibiting prisoners from protesting as recognised by s 17 of the Bill of Rights. However, prisoners, with reference to the right to free speech and the right to peaceful demonstration, find themselves in a situation where they can claim these rights, but the enabling legislation is not only lacking, but there are strong indications that the operational procedures prevent them from exercising these rights. Muntingh, L (2022) Prison protests in South Africa: A conceptual exploration, SA Crime Quarterly, No. 71 (2022)
    Oct 03, 2022
  • Book chapter: The Impact of Covid-19 on Prison Conditions and Penal Policy
    The Impact of COVID-19 on Prison Conditions and Penal Policy presents the result ... The Impact of COVID-19 on Prison Conditions and Penal Policy presents the results of a worldwide exchange of information on the impact of COVID-19 in prisons. It also focuses on the human rights questions that have been raised during the pandemic, relating to the treatment of prisoners in institutions for both juveniles and adults worldwide. Muntingh, L (2022) ‘South Africa’ IN Dünkel, F., Harrendorf, S. and Van Zyl Smit, D. (eds) The Impact of Covid-19 on Prison Conditions and Penal Policy, Routledge.
    Aug 29, 2022
  • Journal Article: Africa, Prisons and COVID-19 Journal for Human Rights Practice; Volume 12, No 2
    Africa’s prisons are a long-standing concern for rights defenders given the pr ... Africa’s prisons are a long-standing concern for rights defenders given the prevalence of rights abuses, overcrowding, poor conditions of detention and the extent to which the criminal justice system is used to target the poor. The paper surveys 24 southern and east African countries within the context of COVID-19. Between 5 March and 15 April 2020 COVID-19 had spread to 23 southern and east African countries, except Lesotho. The overwhelming majority of these countries imposed general restrictions on their populations from March 2020 and nearly all restricted visits to prisons to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The pandemic and government responses demonstrated the importance of reliable and up to date data on the prison population, and any confined population, as it became evident that such information is sorely lacking. The World Health Organization recommended the release of prisoners to ease congestion, a step supported by the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture. However, the lack of data and the particular African context pose some questions about the desirability of such a move. The curtailment of prison visits by external persons also did away with independent oversight even in states parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). In the case of South Africa, prison monitors were not listed in the ensuing legislation as part of essential services and thus were excluded from access to prisons. In the case of Mozambique, it was funding being placed on hold by the donor community that prevented the Human Rights Commission from visiting prisons. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted long-standing systemic problems in Africa’s prisons. Yet African states have remained remarkably reluctant to engage in prison reform, despite the fact that poorly managed prisons pose a significant threat to general public health care.
    Jul 06, 2021
Opinion-editorials
Submissions
  • Statement by the DJF on the delay in giving effect to the Sonke decision on the independence of the Judicial Inspectorate
    In December 2020, the Constitutional Court confirmed the order of constitutional ... In December 2020, the Constitutional Court confirmed the order of constitutional invalidity made by the Western Cape High Court in Sonke Gender Justice NPC v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others regarding certain provisions of the Correctional Services Act dealing with the independence of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services. The Court gave Parliament two years to rectify these issues; an approach that has been used previously by the Court. The two-year period will lapse on 3 December 2022, which is less than three months into the future. The Detention Justice Forum calls on all relevant state actors to make public the plan for meaningful public participation on the draft Bill and all steps necessary to ensure that the Sonke decision is substantively given effect to.
    Sep 23, 2022
  • Submission on Proposed Regulations in terms of the National Health Act
    This submission is in relation to draft regulations published in Gazette 46048 o ... This submission is in relation to draft regulations published in Gazette 46048 of 15 March 2022
    May 05, 2022
  • Statement under Agenda Item 3: Human Rights Situation in Africa | 71st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
    ACJR statement to the African Commission under the item Human Rights Situation i ... ACJR statement to the African Commission under the item Human Rights Situation in Africa addresses the concerns around African States' handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that law enforcement officials implicated in rights violations against citizens in the context of COVID-19 have not been held accountable for their actions.
    Apr 26, 2022
Fact and information sheets
  • Fact Sheet 9: Failing to discipline in SAPS
    Recent media reports showed again how police officials grossly misused their pow ... Recent media reports showed again how police officials grossly misused their power and, against departmental prescripts, used a 'sjambok' to assault a man for apparently not wearing a mask. Such reports are not isolated and have a very direct impact on trust in the police and thus the legitimacy of the police. The core of the problem seems to be twofold (1) that SAPS managers are not enforcing the internal disciplinary code, and (2) the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) very rarely prosecutes police officials, especially for human rights violations. We have updated ACJR Fact sheet 9 (originally published in February 2019) with statistics for the past two financial years and it appears that the situation has worsened. This does not bode well for general trust in the state and specifically in the police. There is little sense in tough talk about law enforcement when the police themselves are not being held accountable and increasingly regarded as hostile to the general public.
    Jan 28, 2021
  • Folha Informativa 15 (Port.): Policiamento Democrático: Um Quadro Conceptual
    Esta folha informativa discute o policiamento democrático como significando: (1 ... Esta folha informativa discute o policiamento democrático como significando: (1) a obediência da Polícia ao Estado de Direito, (2) a responsabilização da Polícia, e (3) a justiça processual por parte da Polícia ao serviço do público. Nove dimensões necessárias ao policiamento democrático são identificadas, sendo que o resultado final pretendido é a confiança pública na Polícia, algo que resulta da sua legitimidade. O quadro conceptual apresentado não se destina apenas a descrever o policiamento democrático, mas também a orientar o planeamento estratégico nas organizações policiais, incluindo a Polícia da República de Moçambique (PRM).
    Jan 24, 2021
  • Fact Sheet 17: The right of prisoners to vote in Africa (Updated)
    This fact-sheet provides a brief update on the right of prisoners to vote in Afr ... This fact-sheet provides a brief update on the right of prisoners to vote in Africa. There have been substantive advances and breakthroughs in the promotion of this right as courts in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and most recently in Uganda have granted prisoners the right to vote. In Mozambique, the Ombudsman has made a recommendation that measures be put in place to allow prisoners to vote in future elections. The enfranchisement of prisoners is a positive step in the promotion of their basic human rights, it is therefore important that countries on the continent that are still lagging behind consider the above examples and follow suit.
    Jul 13, 2020
Presentations
Multimedia
  • [Infográfico] Policiamento democrático: Um quadro conceptual para que se torne realidade (Portuguese)
    O que é o policiamento democrático? É o mesmo que policiamento numa democraci ... O que é o policiamento democrático? É o mesmo que policiamento numa democracia? Será que sabemos o que podemos esperar da polícia? O que gera confiança na polícia, e o que a corrói? Para investigar estas e outras questões relacionadas, a Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) fez uma extensa pesquisa sobre o policiamento democrático e desenvolveu um quadro conceptual que define quais são as variáveis de entrada, de saída e o produto para alcançar o resultado final, nomeadamente um serviço policial que goza de legitimidade. Nove variáveis inter-relacionadas e que se reforçam mutuamente distinguem-se para produzir o resultado do policiamento democrático, o que é pelo menos três coisas: a polícia defende e protege o estado de direito; a polícia é responsável, e a polícia trabalha ao serviço do público de uma forma processualmente justa.
    Jun 01, 2022
  • الفقر ليس جريمة - عدم تجريم الفقر والوضع الاجتماعي (Arabic)
    كان مركز إصلاح العدالة الجنائية في أفريقيا ( ... كان مركز إصلاح العدالة الجنائية في أفريقيا (ACJR) منذ إنشائه عضوًا في حملة "الفقر ليس جريمة - عدم تجريم الفقر والوضع الاجتماعي". وظلت الحملة تعمل منذ عدة سنوات واتسع نطاقها لتشمل جميع المناطق الأفريقية. وقد برزت أيضًا شعبية لها في أماكن أخرى من العالم. يعكس مخطط المعلومات البياني هذا أبرز العناوين الرئيسية للحملة وإنجازاتها حتى الوقت الحالي.
    Apr 07, 2022
  • Poverty is not a crime - the decriminalisation of poverty and status (English)
    ACJR has since its inception been a member of the campaign "Poverty is not a cri ... ACJR has since its inception been a member of the campaign "Poverty is not a crime - the decriminalisation of poverty and status". The campaign has been running for a number of years and expanded to all African regions. It has also found traction elsewhere in the world. This infographic reflects on the campaign high-lights and achievements to date.
    Feb 24, 2022
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