Resources

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.

Sex worker paralegals
Author: Jean
Published: Sep 01, 2015

Former sex workers affiliated to the Sisonke Sex Worker's Movement have been trained as paralegals by the Women's Legal Centre to provide paralegal advice and assistance to sex workers

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

Challenging disadvantage in Zambia: People with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities in the criminal justice system
Author: Jean
Published: Jul 23, 2015

This project investigated how individuals with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities are dealt with by the criminal justice system in Zambia, and developed recommendations for improving policy and practice. The project was undertaken by a consortium of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) comprising the Paralegal Alliance Network (PAN), Mental Health Users Network Zambia (MHUNZA), the Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRISCCA), the Zambia Federation of Disability Organisations (ZAFOD), the Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) and the UK-based Prison Reform Trust. The work was funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the Human Rights Initiative at the Open Society Foundations, and was overseen by a steering committee chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

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.

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