ACJR Publications

This section contains ACJR publications and those of CSPRI (Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative), its predecessor.
Research Reports
  • Recommendations for reform of the National Prosecuting Authority
    Following from previous work, this report looks at seven areas of reform for the ... Following from previous work, this report looks at seven areas of reform for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). By its own admission the NPA is facing a long list of challenges, internally and externally. This report proposes seven areas of reform that can over the short to medium term, if followed, make a substantial and constructive contribution to rebuilding trust in the NPA. The seven areas are: • the appointment of the NDPP and other senior officials • the dismissal of the NDPP • the prosecution policy directives • referrals from other agencies • informal mediation • structuring the clusters of the NPA • general oversight. An unavoidable conclusion is that law reform is needed since the current legal framework enabled the hollowing-out and misuse of the NPA.
    Nov 11, 2020
  • Alternativas à prisão em Moçambique: A implementação do trabalho socialmente útil
    Em Dezembro de 2020 entrarão em vigor em Moçambique o Código Penal revisto, o ... Em Dezembro de 2020 entrarão em vigor em Moçambique o Código Penal revisto, o novo Código de Processo Penal e o Código de Execução das Penas. Embora serão introduzidas mudanças substanciais relacionadas com as alternativas à prisão e especificamente ao trabalho socialmente útil (TSU), este relatório avalia a implementação do TSU em Moçambique entre 2015 e 2019. Examina o seu uso pelos tribunais e a implementação pelo Serviço Nacional Penitenciário (SERNAP). As conclusões apontam para vários problemas de implementação, como o seu uso pouco frequente pelos tribunais, bem como desafios na monitoria dos infractores pelo Serviço de Penas Alternativas à Pena de Prisão (SPAPP). Vários problemas sistémicos foram encontrados, como falta de gestão, directrizes processuais e formações e falta de recursos materiais e financeiros necessários para a implementação efectiva do TSU. Independentemente de uma nova estrutura legal, é evidente que será necessário retirar lições valiosas do período em análise. Nas conclusões, o relatório aponta algumas recomendações para abordar as deficiências.
    Oct 07, 2020
  • Alternatives to imprisonment in Mozambique: The implementation of community service orders
    In December 2020 a revised Penal Code and new Criminal Procedure Code and Code o ... In December 2020 a revised Penal Code and new Criminal Procedure Code and Code on the Implementation of Penalties will enter into force in Mozambique. While substantial changes related to alternatives to imprisonment and specifically to community service will be introduced, this report assesses the implementation of community service orders (CSO) in Mozambique between 2015 and 2019. It examines its use by the courts and implementation by the Department for Corrections. The findings point to several implementation problems, such as its infrequent if not rare use by the courts as well as challenges in monitoring offenders by the Service for Alternatives to Imprisonment. A number of systemic problems were found, such as the lack of management, procedural guidelines, and training; understaffing, and a serious lack of material and financial resources necessary for the effective implementation of CSO. Regardless of a new legal framework, it is submitted that valuable lessons need to be taken from the period under review. Based on the findings, the report concludes with recommendations to address the shortcomings.
    Oct 07, 2020
Peer-reviewed Publications
  • Journal article: Modest beginnings, high hopes: The Western Cape Police Ombudsman
    In 2013 the Western Cape legislature passed the Western Cape Community Safety Ac ... In 2013 the Western Cape legislature passed the Western Cape Community Safety Act (WCCSA) to improve monitoring of and oversight over the police. One creation of the WCCSA is the Western Cape Police Ombudsman, which became operational in 2015. This article reviews its history and context, as well as results from its first year. The Police Ombudsman, the only one in the country, must be seen as one of the results of efforts by the opposition-held province to carve out more powers in the narrowly defined constitutional space, and in so doing to exercise more effective oversight and monitoring of police performance, and improve police–community relations. The Ombudsman must also be seen against the backdrop of poor police–community relations in Cape Town and the subsequent establishment of a provincial commission of inquiry into the problem, a move that was opposed by the national government, contesting its constitutionality. Results from the Ombudsman’s first 18 months in operation are modest, but there are promising signs. Nonetheless, the office is small and it did not do itself any favours by not complying with its legally mandated reporting requirements.
    Jun 01, 2018
  • Journal article: The SocioEconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention in Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia
    The presumed link between the rule of law and development suggests that an opera ... The presumed link between the rule of law and development suggests that an operational justice system is key to development. The research sought to understand and quantify how the decision to detain an accused person affects his or her socio-economic situation. Data was collected in Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia. The findings suggest that the use of the coercive power of the state exercised through the deprivation of an individual’s liberty has serious socio-economic consequences. While detention pending trial is justifiable sometimes, we argue that it is over-used, frequently resulting in excessively long detention. The deprivation of liberty interferes with the ability of individuals to be agents of their own development, infringing on socio-economic rights of individuals and their dependents. States can justify such infringements only if their coercive power is used within the ambit of democratic and rights-respecting laws complying with human rights standards.
    Oct 04, 2017
  • Journal Article: Ten years after the Jali Commission: The state of South Africa's prisons
    Ten years have lapsed since the Jali Commission’s final report became publicly ... Ten years have lapsed since the Jali Commission’s final report became publicly available, and it is therefore an opportune time to assess the state of South Africa’s prison system. The Jali Commission was appointed when it became clear that the state had lost control of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). A decade on, some notable advances have been made in regaining control, and addressing corruption and maladministration. However, serious and persistent challenges remain. These are explored in this article, with a particular focus on policy development, the performance of the DCS against set targets, governance and human rights violations. In all four of these areas substantial shortcomings remain. Impunity for human rights violations is perhaps the most critical challenge, as the DCS has been reluctant to acknowledge the scale of this problem or to seriously address it.
    Dec 01, 2016
Opinion-editorials
  • Op-ed: Number of awaiting-trial prisoners increases under lockdown
    At the start of SA’s lockdown, prisoners were released in a bid to reduce tran ... At the start of SA’s lockdown, prisoners were released in a bid to reduce transmission of Covid-19 in prisons. The emphasis was on sentenced persons via special parole. Yet our most crowded facilities are remand centres, holding those awaiting trial. In the Western Cape, since April, there has been a worrying increase in remand imprisonment. What is causing this rise?
    Jul 27, 2020
  • Op-ed: Prisons, overcrowding and preventing Covid-19 transmission
    Over 163,000 people are in correctional facilities in South Africa. Outbreaks of ... Over 163,000 people are in correctional facilities in South Africa. Outbreaks of Covid-19 in these prisons can have catastrophic consequences for both prisoners and the public healthcare system.
    Apr 30, 2020
  • Op-Ed: Ngcobo is but one example of policing gone wrong
    The events of Ngcobo are portrayed as unusual, maybe because few realise that ru ... The events of Ngcobo are portrayed as unusual, maybe because few realise that rural former Transkei has a very high murder rate. Yet the South African Police Service allocates relatively few police officials to such areas. Now that SAPS members are among the dead, perhaps SAPS will reconsider.
    Mar 01, 2018
Submissions
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
  • South Africa's NPA: accountability, trust and public interest
    Three key concepts are associated with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) ... Three key concepts are associated with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and its relation to the public, namely accountability, public interest and trust. It is suggested that for the NPA to be regarded as a legitimate institution it needs to enjoy trust and in order to enjoy such trust, it needs to be seen and perceived to act in the public interest in an accountable manner.
    Jul 22, 2020
  • The performance of South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority
    This infographic considers the performance of the National Prosecuting Authority ... This infographic considers the performance of the National Prosecuting Authority since inception.
    Jul 21, 2020
  • The appointment and dismissal of South Africa's NDPP
    This infographic sets out the current procedure for the appointment and dismissa ... This infographic sets out the current procedure for the appointment and dismissal of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) and identifies problems and concerns.
    Jul 16, 2020
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