ACJR Publications

This section contains ACJR publications and those of CSPRI (Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative), its predecessor.
Fact Sheet 14: Visible policing: Clarifying concepts and expectations
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 19, 2019

This fact sheet unpacks the idea of visible policing in South Africa. In so doing, it highlights that the concept should be engaged with critically. It suggests that the SAPS sector policing philosophy, which is problem-oriented and data-led, should be the focus of the Visible Policing programme.

Fact Sheet 9: Failing to discipline in SAPS
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 19, 2019

This fact sheet looks at accountability in SAPS by firstly outlining the accountability framework with reference to the Constitution. Quantitative data is presented on disciplinary code enforcement in SAPS and comparisons are drawn with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). The relationship between the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as two important players in the accountability architecture is considered.

Discussion Document: NPA Accountability, trust and public interest
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 19, 2019

This discussion document deals with three key concepts 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.

Fact Sheet 7: 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.

Journal article: Modest beginnings, high hopes: The Western Cape Police Ombudsman
Author: Lukas
Published: Jun 01, 2018

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.

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.

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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