ACJR Publications

The appointment and dismissal of the NDPP
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 24, 2018

The recent announcement by President Ramaphosa to call together a committee of experts to assist him to appoint a new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) is unprecedented, and an extremely important move in the right direction towards greater transparency and accountability at South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority. An earlier report by ACJR dealt in detail with the problems at the NPA and, amongst others, recommended that the appointment procedure of the NDPP be reformed. In this fact sheet the current procedure for the appointment and dismissal of the NDPP is set out and problems identified. This should inform debate and stimulate ideas on the reforms we would like to see.

Solitary Confinement - A review of the legal framework and practice in five African countries
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 23, 2018

This report investigates the legal frameworks of five African countries (Kenya Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia) as they relate to the use of solitary confinement. The effect of long periods of solitary confinement have been shown to have severe impacts on a prisoner’s mental and physical well-being. The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has noted that the use of prolonged solitary confinement may amount to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in breach of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In December 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules (‘2015 UNSMR’). The 2015 UNSMR addresses a key shortcoming in the protection and treatment of people in places of detention, as it, for the first time, sets down norms and limitations on the use of solitary confinement. The report concludes that there are major areas of non-compliance in each of the countries and this requires urgent attention

ACJR Submission on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Amendment Bill (2018)
Author: Jean
Published: Jun 28, 2018

It is our submission that the issue to be addressed, namely the independence of IPID also relates to the relationship between IPID and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and this submission focuses on that relationship as described in section 7(4-5) of the IPID Act. It will be submitted below that the effectiveness and impact of IPID is essentially at the mercy of the NPA.

ACJR Submission on Parole in South Africa
Author: Jean
Published: May 28, 2018

In late May 2018 the Department of Correctional Services in South Africa hosted a roundtable to discuss its “Position paper: a revised parole system for South Africa”. Submissions were invited prior to the round table and ACJR made a submission critical of the position paper. Key problems identified, amongst others, are: the lack of quantitative data in the position paper making it difficult to formulate policy in the absence of fact; the large number of prisoners serving life imprisonment received scant attention; and that proposed separate legislation to govern parole may not solve problems in the current system.

Expungement of a criminal record: crimes committed by an adult
Author: Jean
Published: May 15, 2018

Since 2009 the Criminal Procedure Act provides for the expungement of certain criminal records depending on the sentence that was imposed. This fact sheet describes the requirements and process in relation to adults.

Expungement of a criminal record: crimes committed by a child
Author: Jean
Published: May 14, 2018

The Child Justice Act since 2008 makes provision for the expungement of criminal records for offences committed by a child. Eligibility for expungement depends on the offence that was committed and certain offences cannot be expunged. This fact sheet describes the requirements and the process.

Developments in Addressing Torture in Mozambique
Author: Jean
Published: Mar 22, 2018

This article assesses developments in the prevention and eradication of torture in Mozambique. Despite several positive efforts and advances made, acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment are still perpetrated by members of the security forces, especially police officials, often with impunity. The culture of impunity for such serious offences is a direct threat to human rights and the rule of law in the country and seriously compromises the country’s public integrity. Two issues are of deep concern and require more efforts by the state, namely: a) addressing impunity and ensuring prompt and impartial investigations of all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and b) protecting victims and providing the necessary restitution, rehabilitation and compensation. In conclusion we provide recommendations on how to improve the situation. These are: engaging in outreach and advocacy; improving and strengthening the national legislative framework; strengthening institutions; developing mechanisms for the reporting of torture: monitoring and evaluating existing reporting mechanisms; improving conditions of detention; establishing effective oversight over places of detention, and by maintaining records to improve transparency and availability of information.

Journal article: The SocioEconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention in Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 04, 2017

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. Access the journal article here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40803-017-0062-1

An Assessment of the National Prosecuting Authority - A Controversial Past and Recommendations for the Future
Author: Lukas
Published: May 22, 2017

Twenty years into democracy, the independence of the NPA, in particular the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), has become a highly contested and politicised issue. The Constitutional Court has noted that ‘[t]he constitutional obligation upon the State to prosecute those offences which threaten or infringe the rights of citizens is of central importance in our constitutional framework’. This report focuses on the substantive problems and dilemmas facing the NPA. In the discussion that follows the major challenges that the NPA is facing and have faced are set out. The report unpacks these and presents possible solutions and recommendations.

The Socio-economic Impact of Pre-trial detention in Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 08, 2017

In many countries people accused of crimes are held in detention before trial. The law permits this detention usually in order to guarantee the appearance of the accused at trial. This project seeks to confirm and quantify the socio-economic impact of such pre-trial detention on detainees, their families, and associated households, in the main urban centres of Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.

An Audit of the Criminal Justice System in Kenya
Author: Jean
Published: Jan 23, 2017

The 2010 Constitution ushered in a new era for governance in Kenya, with notable emphasis on rights codified in the Bill of Rights under Chapter Four of the Constitution. It is against this background that, under the auspices of the National Council on Administration of Justice (NCAJ), the Legal Resources Foundation Trust (LRF) and Resources Oriented Development Initiatives (RODI-Kenya) - with technical support from University of Western Cape South Africa - CSPRI and financial support from Open Society Foundations - partnered to conduct an audit study on Kenya’s Criminal Justice System. The focus was on pretrial detention with specific emphasis on conditions of detention and case-flow management. The audit was commissioned by the NCAJ Council on the 15th May, 2015 and thereafter conducted under the supervision of an NCAJ National Steering Committee, comprising of members drawn from the various agencies of the Criminal Justice System.

A Comparative Study of Bail Legislation in Malawi, Mozambique and Burundi
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 12, 2016

The deprivation of liberty is a serious intervention in any person’s life, and therefore the possibility of releasing an accused person from custody pending trial is a fundamental part of criminal justice systems across the world. Criminal justice systems have developed various ways to ensure, at least in law, that accused persons appear for trial without depriving them of their liberty. Such release may be conditional or unconditional. Unconditional release usually takes the form of a warning to appear in court at a later date, while conditional release can be secured through bail, bond, surety, and supervision. This paper reviews the laws on conditional release in Burundi, Malawi and Mozambique. These three countries were selected on the basis that they represent not only different types of legal systems but Francophone, Anglophone and Lusophone legal traditions, respectively. --

Constitutionnalité des lois relatives à la procédure pénale et à la détention en Afrique: Côte d’Ivoire
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 02, 2016

A la suite de l'adoption de conventions internationales des droits de l'homme dans la deuxième moitié du dernier siècle et de nouvelles constitutions à la fin du 20e siècle, la question se pose de savoir si les droits reconnus dans ces conventions et constitutions sont reconnus dans la législation applicable. Dès lors, ce rapport examine la question de la constitutionnalité du droit pénal et du droit de la procédure pénale en Côte d'Ivoire. Une étude comparative des cadres normatifs au Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mozambique et Zambie est également disponible en anglais.

Constitutionality of Criminal Procedure and Prison Laws in Africa: Zambia
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 01, 2016

Zambia’s Constitution contains an enforceable Bill of Rights, one which mainly lists civil and political rights that constrain state power. Having human rights enshrined in an enforceable manner in the Constitution is important, because the validity of other laws is measured by their conformity to the Constitution.

Constitutionality of Criminal Procedure and Prison Laws in Africa Kenya 2
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 01, 2016

Kenya’s 2010 Constitution is liberal with regard to the rights of persons in the country’s criminal justice system. Its notable novel provisions include the entrenchment of the rights to fair trial and habeas corpus and the separation of criminal investigations and prosecutions under two independent systems. The country’s penal and criminal procedure laws predate the Constitution.

Constitutionality of Criminal Procedure and Prison Laws in Africa: Kenya
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 01, 2016

Kenya’s 2010 Constitution is liberal with regard to the rights of persons in the country’s criminal justice system.This study identifies conformity gaps between, on the one hand, constitutional protections of the rights of arrested, accused and detained persons and, on the other, statutory criminal procedure requirements. The starting-point is the Constitution and, accordingly, the study is concerned with provisions in criminal procedure law that are directly or indirectly within the scope of application of an explicit right in the Constitution.

Constitutionality of Criminal Procedure and Prison Laws in Africa: Côte d’Ivoire
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 01, 2016

The adoption by referendum of Law No. 2000.515 of 1 August 2000 establishing the Constitution of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire must be understood against the political backdrop of that time. It resulted from the need to restore state’s institutions after the coup of 24 December 1999 and to prepare for the presidential election of October 2000. Many national and international observers agree that the Ivorian Constitution of 2000 is an essential text establishing minimum standards. Observers also consider that the Constitution broadly incorporates the main principles established by the conventions and treaties that Côte d’Ivoire has signed since 1960. In criminal matters, none of the major pieces of legislation (the CCP, the CC and the PA Decree) has been modified and updated in the light of the new Constitution.

Constitutionality of Criminal Procedure and Prison Laws in Africa: Burundi
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 01, 2016

The purpose of this study is to briefly examine major developments in Burundi’s criminal procedure legislation and prison laws since the adoption of its 2005 Constitution and to assess how these developments may have impacted on human rights. In effect, this study seeks to understand whether subordinate legislation in Burundi is in line with constitutional provisions and international standards relating to procedural safeguards for arrested and detained persons.

Constitutionality of Criminal Procedure and Prison Laws in Africa A comparative study of Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 01, 2016

This study reviews 41 rights of arrested, accused and detained persons under Burundian, Ivorian, Kenyan, Mozambican and Zambian law. These countries were chosen because they represent Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone Africa as well as countries that have a civil law and common law tradition. The study begins by reviewing 17 rights of those arrested and detained in police custody; it goes on to examine 18 rights of accused persons; and ends by considering six rights of those detained in prison on remand or as sentenced prisoners. Each right is examined from three angles: first, whether it is recognised under international human rights law; secondly, to what extent the right is enshrined in the domestic constitution of the jurisdiction under review; and thirdly, to what extent the right is upheld and developed in subordinate legislation.

Formalising the role of paralegals in Africa: A review of legislative and policy developments
Author: Jean
Published: Aug 31, 2016

Paralegals have an important role to play in criminal justice systems throughout Africa. In many countries the effective use of paralegals is inhibited by a lack of formal recognition. Changes to domestic legislative frameworks are necessary to empower paralegals in their work with persons in conflict with the law at police stations, court rooms and prisons.It is hoped that this report will serve as an impetus for debate and advocacy on this important issue. This report reviews the work and legal framework of paralegals in 11 countries, being Burundi, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

African Innovations in Pre-trial Justice
Author: Jean
Published: Aug 01, 2016

This review seeks to showcase innovative interventions to reduce pre-trial detention in African countries, so that they may be adapted for use in other low and lower-middle income countries.

Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee: Overview of cross cutting issues in Alternate Reports on South Africa
Author: Jean
Published: Mar 01, 2016

This overview of cross cutting issues emanates from five alternate thematic reports submitted by civil society organisations (the Alternate Reports) in response to the Initial Report by South Africa (the State Report), to be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee during its 116th session. The Alternate Reports which provided the basis for this overview are:  Recognition of Civil and Political Rights: A continued struggle for Transgender and Intersex Persons in South Africa  Shadow Report on Participatory Democracy to South Africa’s State Report and their Responses to the List Of Issues On The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights (ICCPR)  Thematic Report on Criminal Justice and Human Rights in South Africa  Thematic Report on the Rights of Migrants and Asylum Seekers in South Africa  Thematic Report on Violence Against Women and LGBTI Persons in South Africa

Constructing pre-trial detention indicators for African contexts: Problems and proposals
Author: Jean
Published: Nov 04, 2015

This discussion paper arose from the conundrum faced by a paralegal organisation working in an African country in demonstrating both that pre-trial detention is a problem in that country, and that their work has an impact on the problem. The indicators currently employed by states and organisations relating to pre-trial detention have a range of shortcomings in the African context. These shortcomings need to be understood in interpreting indicator values. Indicators should be adjusted, and additional indicators should be incorporated into data collection practice in order to provide a more complete and accurate picture of pre-trial detention in Africa. This paper is intended as a starting point for a broader discussion of the pitfalls and possibilities for the development of indicators in relation to pre-trial detention in Africa

Constructing pre-trial detention indicators for African contexts: Problems and proposals
Author: Jean
Published: Nov 04, 2015

This discussion paper arose from the conundrum faced by a paralegal organisation working in an African country in demonstrating both that pre-trial detention is a problem in that country, and that their work has an impact on the problem. The indicators currently employed by states and organisations relating to pre-trial detention have a range of shortcomings in the African context. These shortcomings need to be understood in interpreting indicator values. Indicators should be adjusted, and additional indicators should be incorporated into data collection practice in order to provide a more complete and accurate picture of pre-trial detention in Africa. This paper is intended as a starting point for a broader discussion of the pitfalls and possibilities for the development of indicators in relation to pre-trial detention in Africa

Arrested in Africa: An exploration of the issues
Author: Jean
Published: Nov 01, 2015

Recent research and advocacy efforts have drawn attention to the excessive use of and prolonged pre-trial detention in Africa. At any given moment there are roughly 1 million people in Africa’s prisons. Far more move through prisons each year. Their stay in prison, regardless of duration, starts with being arrested. Substantially more people are arrested than those who end up in prison for pre-trial detention. Pre-trial detention figures are thus a poor indicator of contact with the criminal justice system. The purpose of arrest and subsequent detention of a suspect is essentially to ensure the attendance of the person in court or for another just cause. The police’s powers of arrest are, in theory, curtailed to the extent that the arresting officer must be able to provide reasons for the arrest and continued police detention. Police officials have considerable discretion in executing arrests, especially when arresting without a warrant. This exploratory report focuses on arresting without a warrant and starts off with setting out the legal requirements in this regard by way of a case study. In order to understand current arrest practices, the report provides a brief description of the history of policing in Africa and concludes that much of what was established by the colonial powers has remained intact, emphasising high arrest rates, a social disciplinarian mode of policing, supported by myriad petty offences that justify arrest without a warrant. This combination enables widespread corruption and results in negative perceptions of the police. The report further argues that given the wide discretionary powers of the police to arrest without a warrant, it follows that not all people are at an equal risk of arrest, but rather that it is the poor, powerless and out-groups that are at a higher risk of arrest based on non-judicial factors. The report concludes with a number of recommendations calling for further research, decriminalisation of certain offences and restructuring of the police in African countries.

Submission to South Africa's Parliament - 2015 strategic planning session
Author: Gwen
Published: Sep 21, 2015

This submission to the South African parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services' strategic planning session addresses the issues of long periods of pre-trial detention, low prosecution rates, the independence of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services, human rights abuses in prison, sentencing reform and effective prison oversight.

Submission to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services
Author: Jean
Published: Aug 18, 2015

This submission deals with South Africa’s performance in relation to, and compliance with, international standards with reference to offender management, offender rehabilitation and independent monitoring, as was requested by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services (the Portfolio Committee).

Pocket Guide to Arrest and Detention in Malawi
Author: Jean
Published: Jul 31, 2015

This guide is for anyone who needs a quick reference to the laws around arrest and detention in Malawi. This may include police, court clerks, prosecutors, magistrates, paralegals and detainees. First there is an orientation to the criminal justice system and a diagram and summary of what happens in Malawi around arrest and detention, page 1. The main part of the book focuses on what the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code says. It starts with when and how arrest can happen and possibilities for release at the police station, page 4. This is followed by a section on how things happen in court and how people can be released by the court, page 12. There are special sections on the arrest and release of children, pages 7 and 11. There is also a list of children’s offences that are considered serious, see page 34, and there is a section on the maximum times allowed for the commencement and duration of trial, page 16. The rights of every person in Malawi, as well as the specific rights of those who have been arrested and detained are described, pages 18 - 21. The meanings of legal words can be found in the glossary near the back, page 22. At the very back is a long list of all the offences for which someone can be arrested in Malawi. These offences are divided into those that need a warrant for arrest, and those that do not, page 26

Presentation on constructing indicators
Author: Jean
Published: May 21, 2015

This is the presentation made by Jean Redpath on an introduction to indicators at a seminar held in Cape Town in May 2015.

Measuring Pre-trial Justice: A comprehensive approach
Author: Jean
Published: Mar 18, 2015

This fact sheet was based on indicators developed by the Latin America Network for Pretrial Justice through country studies, analysis from past experience and a series of regional expert meetings.

A Survey Report on the Application of Bond and Bail Legislation in Zambia 2014
Author: Jean
Published: Jan 07, 2015

This report by the Zambian Human Rights Commission was based on a survey conducted to collect information on factors affecting access and conditions regarding bail among people found to be in conflict with the law in Zambia. The findings are meant to provide a basis for the review of current bail legislation relating to bail conditions in Zambia by promoting easy access for suspects or inmates to bail regardless of their social and economic conditions.

Evidence obtained through violating the right to freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in South Africa
Author: Jean
Published: Jan 01, 2015

This article was published in AHRLJ Volume 15 No 1 2015. Although South African courts have expressly held that any evidence obtained through torture is always inadmissible, the author is unaware of a decision from a South African court to the effect that evidence obtained through cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is, like evidence obtained through torture, inadmissible in all circumstances. In this article, the author first deals with the issue of evidence obtained through torture and thereafter relies on the practice of international and regional human rights bodies, such as the Committee against Torture, the Human Rights Committee, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the European Court of Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and some of the sections of the South African Constitution, to argue that South Africa has an international obligation to exclude any evidence obtained through cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. In support of this argument, the author relies on the jurisprudence of the South African Supreme Court of Appeal on the nature of the right to freedom from torture and argues that the same approach could be applied to the right to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment

Time Limits Poster
Author: Jean
Published: Dec 03, 2014

This poster explains the various time limits which apply to arrest and detention in criminal procedure in Malawi.

Release at Court Poster
Author: Jean
Published: Dec 03, 2014

This poster explains how an arrested person can be released at court in Malawi criminal procedure.

Women in Pre-trial Detention in Africa
Author: Marilize Ackermann
Published: Nov 07, 2014

This is a publication of of the project 'Promoting Pre-trial Detention in Africa' (PPJA). The objective of this review is to explore existing literature in respect of the reasons for female remand detention in Africa and the challenges women experience in prison. The biggest challenge to compiling this review was the lack of centralised and comprehensive statistics. The subject is under-researched and statistics referred to represent snapshot data obtained either from the database of the International Centre for Prison Studies or from various ad hoc reports. Literature pertaining to South Africa was available, but authoritative studies from less developed countries do not exist, or were last undertaken as long ago as the 1980s. The failure of states to allocate resources to female detainees and the absence of consistent and clear policies and legislation around the issues they commonly encounter suggest a lack of awareness or a lack of political will to improve the situation.

Submission to South Africa's Parliament on the DCS 2013/14 Annual Report
Author: Jean
Published: Sep 15, 2014

This submission discusses the 2013/14 Department of Correctional Services (South Africa) Annual Report. More specifically, it discusses human rights violations in prison (including allegations of torture), the mandate of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services, rehabilitation and the review of the White Paper on Corrections, the SIU investigation into corruption in prison, lengthy pre-trial detention and leadership instability.

The African Commission’s Guidelines on Pre-trial Detention: Implications for Angola and Mozambique
Author: Jean
Published: Aug 01, 2014

On 8 May 2014, in Luanda (Angola), the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) adopted the Guidelines on the Use and Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-trial Detention in Africa. Shortly after the adoption of the Guidelines, the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI) of the Community Law Centre at the University of Western Cape (South Africa) co-hosted on 21-22 May 2014 a workshop in partnership with the Mozambican Institute of Legal Aid (Instituto de Patrocínio e Assistência Jurídica, IPAJ), in Maputo, to begin a debate on the implementation of the Guidelines in Mozambique and Angola.

Budget Vote Submission
Author: Jean
Published: Mar 27, 2013

The submission is made in response to the 2013/14 Budget Vote as accompanied by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Strategic Plan 2013/14 - 2016/17 and Performance Plan 2013/14 - 2016/17. The submission deals with three broad issues: (1) alignment between the Strategic Plan and the budget, (2) creating safer prisons, and (3) rehabilitation and reintegration. The latter two focal areas are in response to a general request from the Portfolio Committee for submissions on these two issues.

Submission to the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry
Author: Berber
Published: Oct 17, 2012

CSPRI made a submission to the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha and a breakdown in relations between the community and the police in Khayelitsha. Bearing in mind the obligations under the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol, the recommendations touch upon meaningful independent oversight, including at the provincial level; improved training of law enforcement officials; prompt and impartial investigations of allegations of torture; and public co-operation.

Submission on the JICS Annual Report 2011/12
Author: Berber
Published: Oct 09, 2012

With this submission, CSPRI wishes to draw the Portfolio Committee’s attention to the fact that since its establishment in 2000, the JICS has not been the subject of a review process scrutinising whether it is indeed advancing prisoners’ rights in South Africa. CSPRI submits that continuous and regular review is necessary in order for state institutions to adapt to changing needs and improve efficiency and effectiveness. The submission discusses the independence of JICS and the current investigative regime and encourages JICS to include recommendations, based on national and international law and jurisprudence, whenever it reports concerns.

Submissions on the Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Bill [B21 of 2012]
Author: Berber
Published: Aug 01, 2012

CSPRI made the following submissions to Parliament on the Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Bill. These submissions represent the views of a group of organisations and address, primarily, whether the contents of the Bill comply fully with the obligations imposed on the state in terms of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT). These submissions also include recommendations on what the Bill should include and / or exclude as well as suggestions on how the text could be amended.

Report on Children in Prison in South Africa
Author: Jean
Published: May 28, 2012

"An important finding is that the policies in respect of the services and activities available to children are varied and inconsistent. Inconsistencies exist in relation to information provided at admission, orientation of new admissions, conditions of detention, the segregation of children from adults, access to education, access to recreation and preparation for release. ... Based on snapshot data, children remain awaiting trial in DCS facilities for an average of 70 days."

Submission to the 51st Ordinary Session of the ACHPR
Author: Berber
Published: Apr 18, 2012

On 18 April 2012, the Community Law Centre delivered a submission to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. The submission dealt with three issues, namely compliance with the Robben Island Guidelines, domestic oversight over places of detention and limiting the use of pre-trial detention.

Guide to UN Convention Against Torture in South Africa
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2011

This publication, released in 2011, is an update to the earlier version published in 2008. It provides an up to date guide to the implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) which South Africa ratified in December 1998. As a guide to the UNCAT it is aimed at civil society organisations, human rights activists and officials working with people deprived of their liberty. The guide is divided in six chapters as follows: The absolute prohibition of torture in international law; Framing the problem of torture in a South African context; The UNCAT and South Africa’s obligations; The Committee against Torture and South Africa; Recent case law; Domestic and international stakeholders in preventing and combating torture.

The law and the business of criminal record expungement in South Africa
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 06, 2011

This report reviews the use and expungement of criminal records in South Africa and was prompted by a recent amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act which created, for the first time, a mechanism for certain criminal convictions to be expunged. The situation of criminal records and their expungement is, however, not a simple one and the creation of additional registers (Sex Offender Register, Child Protection Register and Diversion Register) have added another dimension to the issue. The overall impression from the legal framework is that different pieces of legislation use different yardsticks in respect of expungements. It is furthermore a general conclusion that the scope of the mechanism created in the Criminal Procedure is extremely narrow and that very few former offenders would in fact benefit from it. The creation of this mechanism also saw the private sector creating a profit opportunity with some companies charging amounts as high as R7 500 for handling the expungement application, a procedure that should cost no more than R100. The report concludes by recommending that the retention and expungement of criminal records should be selective, purposeful and based on knowledge.

Remand detention in South Africa: An overview of the current law and proposals for reform
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 05, 2011

This research report provides an overview of the necessary research to develop possible solutions for limiting the amount of time remand detainees spend in custody. The report discusses, firstly, the bail provisions in the Criminal Procedure Act with regard to the right to liberty and in the broader constitutional notion of proportionality. Second, case law from regional and international bodies dealing with pre-trial release is explored, and third, detention time limits and automatic bail review proceedings are discussed. Fourth, the conceptual distinction between fair trial rights and liberty interests and the South African courts’ treatment of “undue delay” cases is described. The report concludes with the recommendation that a constitutional challenge, based on the Criminal Procedure Act’s failure to adequately protect the accused’s right to liberty, be brought on behalf of South Africa’s remand detainees. Such a challenge would be based on the right to liberty and argue that without custody time limits and a regular, automatic review of bail decisions, the law in relation to bail, as it currently stands, is unconstitutional.

A5I - CLC statement at the 50th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR
Author: Gwen
Published: Oct 25, 2011

This is the statement that the Community Law Centre (predecessor of the Dullah Omar Institute) and the Article 5 Initiative, a project of which CSPRI was part, made a the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, which was held from 24 October until 5 November 2011.

Submission by CSPRI to the Portfolio Committee on Police on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Bill [B15 of 2010] and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Bill - B16 of 2010.PDF
Author: calitz
Published: Apr 13, 2011

The submission deals with two bills, being the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Bill and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Bill. The first places the emphasis on the absolute prohibition of torture and argues for the inclusion of the crime of torture into the bill and strengthening the investigative powers of the proposed Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) as well as its independence. In respect of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Bill attention is paid to establishing a detention visiting mechanism to enhance transparency in line with OPCAT.

A guide to the rights of inmates as described in the Correctional Services Act and Regulations (revised 2010)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2010

The Correctional Services Act (111 of 1998) was promulgated in 2004 creating a rights-based framework for South Africa’s prison system. In 2008 the Correctional Services Act was amended by the Correctional Services Amendment Act (25 of 2008). This guide, originally published in 2006, has been updated to incorporate the changes to the 1998 Correctional Services Act following the recent amendment. The purpose of this guide is to describe in an accessible and user-friendly format the human rights framework pertaining to inmates in South Africa based on the Constitution, Correctional Services Act and the Regulations accompanying the legislation. Where appropriate, reference is made to other legislation when this has a direct bearing on the rights of inmates. Care was, however, taken to focus on the rights of inmates and the guide should thus not be seen as a guide prison law in South Africa or even as a plain language guide to the complete Correctional Services Act. Large parts of this Act deal, for instance, with the operations and management of the Department of Correctional Service and do not have a direct bearing on the rights of inmates.

CLC statement to the ACHPR 47th Ordinary Session on pre-trial detention in Africa
Author: Gwen
Published: May 12, 2010

This is the statement that the Community Law Centre (predecessor of the Dullah Omar Institute) made a the 47th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, which was held from 12 to 26 May 2010. The submission addresses the issue of pre-trial detention in Africa.

Roundtable Discussion on the White Paper on Corrections in South Africa
Author: hannes
Published: Dec 09, 2009

In March 2005 the Department of Correctional Services released the White Paper on Corrections in South Africa which articulated a new 20-year vision for the correctional system. This vision articulates an antithesis of what was inherited from the previous regime. But it does raise serious questions about its attainability. Nearly five years into the implementation of the White Paper, results in respect of rehabilitation services to prisoners remain modest. The lack of budgetary alignment to the vision of the White Paper has also been remarked upon by Parliament. In many regards, conditions of detention fail to meet the minimum standards set out in the Constitution and the Correctional Services Act. This roundtable discussion focussed on a critical examination of the White Paper as a policy document and also on progress towards realising the objectives of the White Paper. Some may argue that the White Paper has made a valuable contribution by providing the Department with a new purpose and paradigm, whilst others state that meeting the minimum standards of humane detention is a pre-requisite for large scale rehabilitation services. Did the ambitious vision of the White Paper set the Department up for failure?

Roundtable Discussion on the 2008/9 Annual Report of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2009

The second, in a series of three roundtable discussion, focused on the 2008/9 Annual Report of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services. Since its establishment in 1998 the Inspectorate has made a valuable contribution to promoting and protecting prisoners’ rights and South Africa. The Inspectorate has the mandate to inspect prisons in order that the Inspecting Judge may report on the treatment of prisoners and conditions in prisons. After nearly a decade in existence, it is necessary to examine how the Inspectorate has fulfilled its mandate and how oversight over the prison can be improved in cooperation with other stakeholders, such as civil society, Parliament and the academic community. The discussion focused on the state of correctional centre and the prevention of human rights violations.

Roundtable discussion on oversight over the prison system
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2009

This roundtable discussion, hosted by CSPRI, is the first in a series of three, and included representatives from Parliament, the Judicial Inspectorate for Prisons, SAHRC, media and civil society organisations. The discussions focused on the different oversight mandates, successes achieved in exercising oversight as well as the problems faced. Strategic priorities in prison oversight were identified by the participants.

Reducing Prison Violence: Implications from the literature for South Africa
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2009

Few would argue that prisons are violent places and South Africa is no exception. The consistently high number of deaths and complaints of assaults recorded by both the DCS and the JICS over several years indicate that violence is a “normal” feature of the South African prison system. Amongst all the strategic objectives towards transformation of the prison system and the distractions, the most important objective of any correctional system is to detain prisoners under safe and humane conditions. This, very explicitly, means that individuals, when imprisoned, must not only be safe but they must also feel safe. Regrettably this is not the case and thus the need for this paper to take a closer look at violence in South Africa’s prison system. This is done by reviewing the literature on prison violence to gain a deeper understanding of the problem and also to establish whether there have been any effective measures implemented elsewhere to reduce prison violence. Based on these a number of recommendations are made to improve prison safety in South Africa.

Ex-prisoners' Views on Imprisonment and Re-Entry
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2009

In the past 15 years much research has been conducted on the prison system in South Africa focusing on governance, law reform and human rights. It is, however, of particular concern that the voices of prisoners and ex-prisoners had not been heard in the current discourse, one that has been dominated by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), Parliament, service delivery organisations, academics and human rights activists. In essence, there has been a lot of talk about prisoners and ex-prisoners but there has been little listening to prisoners and ex-prisoners taking place.

Parliamentary Submission on the 2008/9 DCS Annual Report
Author: Gwen
Published: Oct 12, 2009

This submission to the South African parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the 2008/9 Department of Correctional Services Annual Report addresses the issues of safe custody, challenges faced by the pre-trial detention population, staff management and social reintegration.

CSPRI Submission to the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services on the Correctional Services Budget Vote 2009-10 Vote 18.pdf
Author: calitz
Published: Jul 06, 2009

The submission deals with the following: the size of the budget; the size of the prison population; Meeting the minimum standards of humane detention; Performance and operations indicators; Engaging prisoners in programmes and employment; Development of sentence plans; Preparing for release and post-release support; and the handover report.

Prisoner Re-Entry in Cape Town – An Exploratory Study
Author: calitz
Published: Nov 07, 2008

Every month in South Africa approximately 6000 sentenced prisoners are released, some on parole and some on expiry of sentence. After serving their prison sentences it is society’s expectation that they will refrain from committing crime and be productive citizens. They are expected to find employment, rebuild relationships with their families and communities, and cease from engaging in certain activities and avoiding the risks that caused their imprisonment in the first instance. Unfortunately, it is the case that many released prisoners commit further offences and find their way back to prison, some in a remarkably short period of time while others return after several years. This study is concerned with the immediate post-release period and asked a very simple question: “What happens to people immediately after they have been released from prison?” The question is aimed at gaining a deeper and empirical understanding of what prisoner re-entry and reintegration into society mean and what the obstacles are to successful reintegration. When people’s lives have effectively been put on hold for several months or years, how do they pick up the strings where they had left them, if there are indeed strings to pick up?

The Changing Face of Life Imprisonment in South Africa.pdf
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2008

This article investigates the meaning and use of life imprisonment in South Africa in four major legal historical eras: life imprisonment at the time when the death penalty was still lawful in South Africa (including life imprisonment as early as 1906); life imprisonment in the immediate aftermath of the abolition of the death penalty (1994-1998); life imprisonment following the introduction of the minimum sentences legislation (1998-2007); and life imprisonment after December 2007, when the sentencing jurisdiction of the regional courts was extended to include life imprisonment.

An Assessment of the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Correctional System governance with Special Emphasis on Correctional Services Staff
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2008

The incidence of HIV/AIDS infection in South African prisons has been extensively documented in recent years. This research has focused variously on the geographic and demographic spread of the disease and on the rights of inmates to prophylactics and to appropriate treatment and care. In contrast, little research has been directed towards the incidence and impact of the pandemic amongst correctional officials. From this research it is evident that whilst the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has developed a fairly coherent (albeit unevenly implemented) programme for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS amongst inmates, and notwithstanding the recent launch of a “Framework for the Implementation of a Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Programme” it has yet to develop and implement systematic measures to manage the disease amongst its own staff.

Parliamentary Submission on the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill (2008)
Author: Gwen
Published: Aug 31, 2008

This submission discusses the South African Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill 42 of 2008, which aimed at allowing audio-visual link-up with the courts and at addressing the expungement of criminal records. The Criminal Procedure Amendment Act was adopted in 2008 (Act 65 of 2008).

Guide to the UN Convention against Torture in South Africa
Author: Jean
Published: Jun 01, 2008

"This publication aims to provide guidance on how the UN Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) can be used as a resource in South Africa to eradicate torture and ill-treatment...This prohibition of torture imposes on states obligations which are owed to all other members of the international community; each of these obligations has a correlative right. It signals to all states and to the people under their authority that 'the prohibition of torture is an absolute value from which nobody must deviate.' At the national level it de-legitimates any law, administrative or judicial act authorising torture."

Submission by CSPRI to the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill [B12-2008]
Author: calitz
Published: May 13, 2008

This submission focuses on the prevention and combating of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment within the context of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill [B12- 2008]. The overall objective is to promote the use of two international instruments (UNCAT and OPCAT) and, more specifically, to assist in creating the enabling legislation to give effect to section 12 of the Constitution.

Submission on South Africa's DCS Budget Vote 2008/09
Author: Gwen
Published: Mar 01, 2008

This submission was made in response to South Africa's Department of Correctional Services tabling of its 2008/09 budget. It addressed the size of the prison population, the seven-day establishment, the PPPs, and the implementation of the White Paper on Corrections.

Prisons in South Africa's Constitutional Democracy
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2007

Prisons serve a set of complex, mutually conflicting and hard-to-achieve goals. Prisons must house people in a humane manner but simultaneously appeal to the punitive nature of prisons — order and security must be maintained while providing an effective deterrent, and appease political opinion. It is in this “inherent policy vagueness” that stakeholders (for example, politicians, bureaucrats and civil society) must find a compromise (Boin, James and Lodge, 2005: 7). Can a constitutional democracy, such as South Africa, find an acceptable compromise, and what would “acceptable” mean under the rules of a constitutional democracy? This report investigate these questions and looks at what are the constitutional requirements for prisons as well as the threats and stumbling blocks en route to meeting these.

Jali Commission Report - Summary and Comment
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2007

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Corruption, Maladministration and Violence in the Department of Correctional Services – The Jali Commission - wrote a comprehensive report that investigated various areas of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). The Jali Commission established that the DCS had various problems that made it function in a manner that left a lot to be desired. The Jali Commission made various recommendations (114+) in its 1800+ page report. The CSPRI summarised the Jali Commission report and put in a user-friendly language for most of us who do not have time to read and comprehend the whole report and also for ease of reference.

Submission to the South African Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on the Implementation Plans for the Victim’s Charter
Author: calitz
Published: Jul 01, 2007

This submission to the South African Department of Justice and Constitutional Development deals with the Implementation Plans for the Victim’s Charter with a focus on the status of, and services to victims of torture, particularly in places of detention. It addresses redress for victims of torture and victim participation in parole board hearings.

Prisons in a Democratic South Africa - a Guide to the Rights of Prisoners as Described in the Correctional Services Act and Regulations
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2006

The Correctional Services Act (CSA) was promulgated in 2004 creating a human rights based framework for South Africa's prison system. In a sense the prison system was delayed in its transformation compared to other government functions in the justice and protection services cluster. Whilst the CSA was passed by Parliament in 1998 it was only in part promulgated and the final and full promulgation took place in October 2005, nearly seven years later. With a new legislative framework in place, the following questions can then rightly be asked: What does a constitutional democracy mean for prisoners? How are the rights of prisoners described in the new Act? What are the rights of children, women, and Aids patients in prisons? How does overcrowding affect prisoners' rights? The purpose of this resource book is to describe in an accessible and user-friendly format the human rights framework for prisoners in South Africa based on the Constitution, Correctional Services Act and the Regulations accompanying the legislation. Where appropriate, reference is made to other legislation that has a direct bearing on the rights of prisoners. It is not a legal text and it is not aimed at lawyers and persons studying prison law, although they may find it useful as a first introduction to a particular topic.

The Effect of Sentencing on the Size of the South African Prison Population
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2006

This report was commissioned by the Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF) and recently presented at a conference on sentencing held in Cape Town. South Africa has a serious prison overcrowding problem. The total number of prisoners has grown steadily and dramatically over the last 11 years. The cause of the increase has changed during this time. Between 1995 and 2000, the major driver of the prison population rise was a massive increase in the size of the unsentenced prisoner population. After 2000, the number of unsentenced prisoners stabilised, and then began to decrease. But the prisoner population continued to grow, now as a result of an increase in the number of sentenced prisoners. This growth continues, despite the fact that the number of offenders admitted to serve custodial sentences is decreasing. The bulk of this increase consists of prisoners serving long sentences. Thus, the rate of release of sentenced prisoners is slowing down.

Investigating prison corruption
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2006

Who investigates corruption, what is investigated and who makes these decisions are important considerations in the fight against corruption. Investigating corruption is one component of anti-corruption strategies. Investigations can be done in different ways, can be based on different assumptions and be driven by different motivations. These assumptions and motivations are reflected in their respective mandates and terms of reference. Some investigations are fact-finding missions with fairly broad and open mandates, while others may be very specific with the intention of bringing about prosecutions and recovering state assets.

Corruption in the prisons context
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2006

The point of departure of this paper is that corruption is a human rights issue, which is accentuated in the prison context given the nature of imprisonment. Three factors create an intrinsic risk for corruption in prisons. Firstly, the all-encompassing nature of imprisonment regulates every aspect of prisoners' daily lives: from having the most basic necessities to having access to luxury items, or even illegal items and activities. Secondly, the state as the controller, establishes a highly unequal power relationship between the prison bureaucracy (represented by the warder) and the prison population. Thirdly, the closed nature of prisons and their general marginalisation from the public eye and political discourse do not assist in making prisons more transparent. Against this backdrop, poor management, weak leadership or organised crime can have a devastating impact on the overall operation of a prison system and, ultimately, on the human rights of prisoners. The paper seeks to clarify key concepts relating to prison corruption. By means of defined relationships, for example between individual warders and individual prisoners, or prisoners and warders as collectives, the nature of prison corruption is described. It concludes that there are fundamental differences between prison corruption and corruption found in others sectors of the public service. The research was done prior to the release of the Jali Commission Report Executive Summary and relied on publicly available documents.

The Treatment of Children in South African Prisons - A Report on the Applicable Domestic and International Minimum Standards (Research Paper No. 11)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2005

The purpose of this report is to describe the compliance requirements in terms of domestic and international law for the Department of Correctional Services as it pertains to the treatment of children in prison. International law is replete with normative standards applying to the treatment of children in prison. As this research paper focuses on children in prison, the emphasis is placed on the relevant provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Rules on Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, as well as some of the provisions of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Further, the Correctional Services Act of 1998 is an important legal framework in the administration of prisons and the treatment of all prisoners, including children. The White Paper on Corrections, released in March 2005 by the Department of Correctional Services, constitutes a comprehensive blueprint augmenting the legal framework in the Act. The report also pays attention to the situation at ground level and identifies particular problem areas. This paper makes a number of observations in relation to the need to upgrade some areas of these domestic laws and policies to ensure compliance with the international law framework. Examples of practical compliance and non-compliance are also highlighted, calling for the need to go beyond progressive laws and policies.

Offender rehabilitation and reintegration: taking the White Paper on Corrections forward (Research Paper No. 10)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2005

This research paper focuses on offender reintegration and based on international and domestic research, interrogates the notion of offender reintegration. In an effort to support the further realization of the White Paper it formulates principles, based on extensive international meta-analysis supported by local research, on what works and what does not work in offender reintegration. It argues for an approach to offender reintegration that is based on knowledge and rigorous in design and, implementation and evaluation.

A study of best practice in prison governance (Research Paper No. 9)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2005

Despite the fact that the Department of Correctional Services has attracted significant media attention as a result of the Jali Commission's investigations, this paper focuses on examples of good governance. The purpose is to demonstrate that despite adverse conditions, individual managers are able to delivery effectively on the department's mandate. The intention is that such examples should be sued for internal learning and replication purposes.

Report of the Evaluation of the Independent Prison Visitors (IPV) System (Research Paper No. 5)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2004

In 1999 the relevant sections of the Correctional Services Act was promulgated to provide for the establishment of the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons. The Independent Prisons Visitor, as provided for in the Act, is the main mechanism of the Judicial Inspectorate to hear and address the complaints of prisoners. With hundreds of Independents Prison Visitors appointed by 2003, this paper reviews the effectiveness of the system to address the complaints of prisoners.

Alternative Sentencing Review (Research Paper No 6)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2004

Whilst the South African legislation makes ample provision for non-custodial sentencing options, practice reveals that these sentencing options are severely under utilized. Research in a number of jurisdictions reveals a system beset by practical problems, lack of knowledge, infrastructure problems, and attitudinal obstacles. Practical recommendations are provided on promoting non-custodial sentencing options as a result of the research.

Report on the evaluation of the Independent Prison Visitors System
Author: calitz
Published: May 13, 2004

The report provides a detailed analysis and evaluation of the Independent Prison Visitors (IPV) system of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS). Recommendations focus on the appointment process of IPVs; the performance management system for IPVs; the quality of feed-back given to prisoners; the training of IPVs; Interaction between IPVs and DCS officials; additional IPVs or the allocation of more time; Interaction with prisoners and work outside mandated duties, and political oversight.

Review of the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons of SA
Author: calitz
Published: May 13, 2004

This report provides a detailed analysis of the legal mandate and powers of JICS. A number of recommendations are made to enhance its independence, efficiency and effectiveness.

Prisoners' Rights Litigation in South Africa Since 1994, a Critical Evaluation (Research Paper No. 3)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2003

Prisoner's rights litigators face serious challenges when they take on the Department of Correctional Services. There is a lack of respect for the Rule of Law within prison services, which means existing rules are disobeyed, court orders ignored and corruption and misconduct condoned or covered up; representatives of prison services often fear taking responsibility and therefore often fail to act, passing on cases to court in an attempt to "pass the buck"; the leadership in the Department often does not know what is going on in individual prisons; the public and the newspapers have little sympathy for prisoners and there is little publicity for the plight of prisoners and consequently representatives in the prison service feel that they can get away with actions that would otherwise not be tolerated; and conditions of overcrowding in the prisons are often caused by problems in the criminal justice system and must be addressed if one wants to improve the conditions under which prisoners are kept. This means that at present litigation against the Department of Correctional Services seldom brings lasting changes in the conditions of prisoners and/or in the way prison officials and the political leadership in the Department operate. Despite these problems, prisoners' rights litigation could be a powerful weapon deployed to address the lack of respect for the Rule of Law, which lies at the heart of the problems faced by the Department. Other non-legal strategies could be used alongside litigation strategies to place ever more pressure on relevant officials and the political leadership in the Department. Such pressure would then force the prison leadership to act because inaction would become impossible.

Policy Developments in South African Correctional Services 1994 - 2002 (Research Paper no. 1)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2003

The period 1994 to 2002 in South African Correctional Services history is reviewed in this paper and was prompted by the apparent confusion characterizing correctional policy during this period. During this period substantial policy changes were adopted, such as the privatization of prisons, but with limited debate and oversight. The paper records for historical purposes important trends and mistakes made during this period, but also serve as a clear reminder of the importance of transparent knowledge-based policy development.

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel and Inhumane Treatment (Research Paper No. 2)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2003

South African ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in December 1998 and played a significant role in the drafting of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The UN General Assembly adopted the OPCAT in December 2002 and since February 2003 the OPCAT has been open for signature. By October 2005 there have been 48 signatures and 13 ratifications. The Protocol requires 20 ratifications to become binding on UN members. The OPCAT is a powerful international human rights instrument as it provides for national and international visiting mechanisms to all places where people are detained. This includes prisons, police cells, immigration centres, and psychiatric hospitals, amongst others. Regular visits to such facilities have been proven as an effective measure against torture and the ill treatment of people deprived of their liberty. This paper investigate the implication for South Africa should it sign and ratify the OPCAT.

A Review of Civilian Oversight over Correctional Services in the Last Decade (Research Paper No. 4)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2003

The restricted and hidden nature of the prison regime was dramatically apparent in apartheid South Africa, where prisons shunned outside scrutiny and engagement in all correctional matters. The correctional system was an inherent part of the political apparatus that upheld the apartheid state. Prisoners were segregated according to race, and the staff hierarchy echoed similar racial lines. The adoption of the Bill of Rights in firstly the interim and then the final Constitution in 1993 and 1996 finally established the right of prisoners to be treated with human dignity and set out the mandatory minimum rights of people deprived of their liberty and those held in custody. These guideline principles, later amplified in the Correctional Services Act of 1998, seek to define how the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) should implement its correctional mandate in keeping people in custody. Recognising the importance of accountability and oversight mechanisms in respect of public institutions, the Constitution created vehicles for civilian oversight. Mechanisms were also created to focus exclusively on prisons. A decade after this transition, it is timeous to evaluate how these mechanisms are functioning, and to what extent they are serving their envisaged purpose.

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