ACJR Publications

This section contains ACJR publications and those of CSPRI (Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative), its predecessor.
Resources on South African Criminal Justice System: Prisons
Author: Janelle
Published: Mar 11, 2020

Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) has produced research on the South African criminal justice system relating to prisons. This resource list contains summaries and links of work that we have produced in recent years on the topic of prisons.

Resources on South African Criminal Justice System: Police
Author: Janelle
Published: Mar 11, 2020

Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) has produced research on the South African criminal justice system relating to the police. This resource list contains summaries and links of work that we have produced in recent years on the topic of police.

Fact Sheet 16: Arrest without a warrant: Guidelines against arbitrary and unlawful arrests
Author: Lukas
Published: Mar 05, 2020

This fact sheet deals with the process of arrest without a warrant and aims to provide guidance on how police officers should test and use their discretion when contemplating an arrest without a warrant. The fact sheet is not country specific and describes the overall and generally accepted requirements for arrest without a warrant.

Fact Sheet 15: Democratic Policing: A Conceptual Framework
Author: Lukas
Published: Mar 02, 2020

This fact sheet discusses democratic policing as meaning (1) the police’s abidance to the rule of law, (2) accountability of the police, and (3) procedural fairness by the police in service of the public. Nine dimensions required for democratic policing are identified with the intended final outcome being public trust in the police which results in the police having legitimacy. The conceptual framework presented is not merely meant to describe democratic policing but rather to guide strategic planning in police organizations including the South African Police Service (SAPS). This relates in particular to the strategic objectives formulated in Medium Term Strategic Framework and annual performance plans with particular reference to the input variables and the outputs they need to deliver.

Fact Sheet 22: Arrest without a warrant in Zambia: Law reform to prevent arbitrary arrest
Author: Janelle
Published: Feb 06, 2020

This fact sheet deals with arrest without a warrant in Zambia. It highlights the legal framework governing arrest without a warrant, the shortcomings in the legislation as well as some challenges with implementation as is evident from case law. The fact sheet recommends that the Zambian Criminal Procedure Code Act and the Police Act are reviewed and that the provisions on arrest without a warrant are amended to comply with international best practice on arrest in accordance to the obligations of the African Charter which seek to protect the right of life, dignity, equality and security of all people.

Fact Sheet 23: Arrest without a warrant in Mozambique: Law reform to prevent arbitrary arrest
Author: Janelle
Published: Oct 25, 2019

This factsheet deals with the power to arrest without a warrant in Mozambique. A 2013-decision by the Constitutional Council of Mozambique resulted in significant changes in law on who can arrest without a warrant, thus reducing the risk of arbitrary arrest. These changes and other developments bode well for reform in the criminal justice system. However, resource constraints place a substantive limitation on the Mozambican criminal justice system in general and specifically on complying with the 2013-decision of the Constitutional Council.

Fact Sheet 21: The role of the court in dealing with petty offences
Author: Janelle
Published: Oct 02, 2019

This fact sheet addresses alternative ways in which offenders of minor crimes can be dealt with at a court level using a more restorative justice approach. It proposes various forms of non-custodial sanctions that the court can impose; for example, community service, good behaviour orders as well as the completion of life skills programs.

Fact Sheet 20: The role of prosecutors in dealing with petty offences
Author: Janelle
Published: Oct 02, 2019

This fact sheet addresses the role that prosecutors can play in dealing with offenders of minor crimes. It emphasizes the use of restorative justice approaches such as mediation, life skills programs and community service as a more appropriate way of dealing with minor offending rather than resorting to a criminal justice response.

Fact Sheet 19: The role of the police in dealing with petty offences
Author: Janelle
Published: Oct 02, 2019

This fact sheet addresses the role that law enforcement officials can play in dealing with offenders of minor crimes. It emphasizes the use of restorative justice approaches such as warnings and fines in combination with other programs as a more appropriate way of dealing with minor offending rather than resorting to a criminal justice response.

Fact Sheet 18: A guide to reading government annual reports
Author: Janelle
Published: Sep 06, 2019

Government departments use annual reports to report on their performance against set objectives stated in their Annual Performance Plans (APP) and the Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF). Annual reports also serve the function of promoting accountability and transparency which should improve trust and confidence in government’s ability to deliver on services. It is especially for civil society organisations that annual reports can be invaluable when holding government accountable. There are, however, certain challenges that readers of annual reports encounter, most notably the fact that annual reports are generally long and complex. Furthermore, the issue of erroneous and intermittent reporting is cause of concern when it comes to analysing an annual report. This fact sheet serves as a guide on how to read government department annual reports and highlights key issues to consider.

Powers of arrest curtailed by Constitutional Council of Mozambique – the impact of the 2013 decision
Author: Jean
Published: Sep 02, 2019

This report assesses the consequences of the 2013-decision of the Constitutional Council of Mozambique, which limits to judges the authority to order pre-trial detention for cases falling outside of flagrante delito (where the accused is caught in the act of committing the offence). Although the decision represents a progressive change in the jurisprudence of Mozambique’s highest court, judges, prosecutors and police encounter operational challenges in implementing the decision, in a country with a population of more than 28 million people. In 2017, there were 344 judges, 18 of which were Judges of Criminal Instruction, responsible for issuing warrants of arrest for cases outside of flagrante delito. Concerns were raised in relation to lack of financial and logistical resources for prosecutors, which are mandated to monitor the legality of police detention. As the criminal justice system is under-resourced, police officials have to wait for a judge to issue a warrant of arrest for cases falling outside of flagrante delito. Despite the decision, unlawful arrests continue to happen although there is anecdotal evidence that these have decreased. The 2013-decision has clarified who has the power to authorise arrest in these cases, but the situation is far from being resolved.

ACJR Submission to the Zondo Commission on the National Prosecuting Authority
Author: Jean
Published: Jun 24, 2019

"The current legislation, structure, policies and operations of the NPA result in the outcome that few persons are convicted of serious crimes, and that state officials, in particular, are more likely to escape prosecution. That is, state officials experience impunity for rights violations and for offences related to state capture."

Liberty not the only loss - The Socio-Economic Impact of Remand Detention in the Western Cape
Author: Jean
Published: May 28, 2019

The evidence in this study suggests that the criminal procedural system metes out a disproportionate ‘punishment’ in the form of infringement of the socio-economic rights of the families of detainees, regardless of guilt or innocence.The study recommends a number of interventions to seek to ensure that remand detention is used only for short durations or when absolutely necessary, thereby minimising socio-economic harms.

Fact Sheet 12: The independence and structure of the prosecuting authority
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 19, 2019

This factsheet maps the history and structure of the prosecution authority before and after 1994 showing that the independence of the prosecution authority oscillated between extreme points with reference to the relationship with the executive. The historical developments of the prosecution authority must be seen against the devolution and centralisation of prosecutorial power and its independence, or not, from political control and interference.

Fact Sheets
  • 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
  • Fact Sheet 25: Arrest without a warrant in Malawi
    This fact sheet deals with arrest without a warrant in Malawi. Currently in Mala ... This fact sheet deals with arrest without a warrant in Malawi. Currently in Malawi there remain laws on the statutes that have not been tested against constitutional requirements resulting in all likelihood in arrests that are not compliant with the Constitution.
    May 12, 2020
  • Fact Sheet 24: Arrest without a warrant in Kenya
    This fact sheet focuses on arrest without a warrant in Kenya. Currently in Kenya ... This fact sheet focuses on arrest without a warrant in Kenya. Currently in Kenya the situation has been complicated by the legislative powers granted to the counties and some have used this opportunity to expand policing powers.
    May 12, 2020
Reports & Articles
  • 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
  • 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.
    Aug 21, 2020
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