Community Involvement in Prisons

Community Involvement in Prisons

Mnyani, M. (1994). Community Involvement in Prisons. Research report written for the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, August.


Mongezi Mnyani

Research report written for the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, August 1994.

Mongezi Mnyani is a former Researcher at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.


Recent developments in the country have made it possible for the community to play a role in ensuring that human a rights culture in prisons is maintained and observed by those responsible for the handling and treatment of prisoners.

The aim of this paper is to attempt a description of the current committees and boards of the Department of Correctional Services which are primarily responsible for policy formulation on correctional matters. The functions and duties of existing committees and boards will be evaluated with the idea of highlighting what role they play and how the community should be involved. The issue of prisons and prisoners have been out of reach of the community in the past due to the policies of the former government. The civil society did not have any say in the running of the government institutions.

The prison function is ideally a mechanism which regulates the protection and enforcement of a system of values and norms, determined by society by means of a democratic process. Imprisonment teaches prisoners to refrain from their criminal behaviour whilst potential offenders are reminded that there is price attached to crime.

Punishment by imprisonment deprives the offender of his/her most fundamental human right to freedom and movement of association. Imprisonment therefore seeks to protect the community and to rehabilitate offenders. If the ideal of imprisonment is to rehabilitate offenders in order to become law-abiding citizens, it is the community where the prisoner comes from and to which he/she will return after his/her release which should be more involved.

The Concept of Community Involvement in Prisons

The meaning of community involvement in prisons is a partnership between civilian individuals within the community and the prisons authorities. Community involvement in prisons seeks to bring together prison authorities and the community in an effort to understand mutual problems and concerns and requires meaningful communication and dialogue. The argument for greater community involvement in prisons is that problems within prisons cannot be addressed in a meaningful way unless the community is involved together with prison administrators in an attempt to solve these problems.

Community involvement in prison requires the active and voluntary participation of the public, and it requires prison officials to respond to problems in the community in a different way. Community involvement assumes a need for greater accountability of prison authorities, greater public participation in decision making and greater concern for civil rights and liberties by prison authorities. Consensus about prisons and prisoners may be achieved through sufficient and meaningful representation in the decision making process and through interaction with the prison officials.

It is important to note the potential and practical role the community can play in terms of providing input and support. For successful community involvement in prisons to occur, both community groups and prison officials have to work towards a better acceptance of each other. Increased co-operation may result in improved perceptions on both sides, with prisons administrators being willing and able to relinquish some of their controlling role in favour of decentralization of activities of an the institution.

The Department of Correctional Services has a head office which is situated at Pretoria with prisons distributed country wide. There is also a regional, and now a provincial administration. The process of decentralization would aim to involve the community in each region for proper co-ordination, proper management and creation of accountability. Provincial Commissioners and prison Commanders must interact with the community where the prison is situated with the idea of promoting more community say and greater involvement in their respective prisons. "It has to be accepted that the community is not an entity, and that the relationship between prisons and the "community" they serve is at least ambivalent."1

Community involvement requires an assessment of existing programmes and education of Correctional Services of community's needs and the advantages it can provide to the Department. The community should have a greater say in the manner in which prisoners are incarcerated, treated and the rehabilitation programmes they are subject, to because prisoners are part of the civil society. This should be done in the context of understanding the social concerns outside of prison. Individual efforts in rehabilitation of prisoners and protection as well as collective efforts at reforming them should be considered vital for successful prisons and community working together. The relationship between prisons and the community needs to be restored in order to create a climate in which co-operation will occur, thereby making the prisons better able to deal with prisoners.

In a democratic society, public institutions like prisons are instruments of service to the community and if the prisons service wants to enjoy the trust, respect and support of the community, it should see to it that the community is convinced of its effectiveness and honesty. The public is often not fully informed regarding the services and facilities offered by the Correctional Services since its activities occur mainly behind high walls and out of sight of the general public. In order to fill this vacuum, a great deal to inform the general public and community leaders regarding the objectives and functions of the Department of Correctional Services should be formulated and promoted.

In summary some of the important characteristics of community involvement in prisons are:

  • supportive relationship between prisons and the community;
  • emphasis is placed on the needs of the community and prisoners;
  • mutual exchange of information between prison authorities and the community; and
  • the unification of the prisons and the community in a close partnership.

Current Statutory Structures of Community Involvement in Prisons

The current community involvement in prisons in South Africa is outlined under the Correctional Services Act (The Act)2 There are various committees and boards which play a crucial role in the administration of prisons, namely, the Institutional Committee, Correctional Boards, Parole Boards and Advisory Council on Correctional Services.3 The powers and functions on these committees and boards are provided for under the Act.4 The way in which these committees are formed and their functions will be discussed below.

Institutional Committees

The Correctional Services Act provides a very wide framework for the Commissioner to establish Institutional Committees at each prison. It consists of a chairperson, deputy, and secretary all of whom are members of the Department of Correctional Services. A member of the Department Correctional Services in charge for the place to which the prisoner has been allocated for work or training also sits on the committee. A person in charge of the prison where the prisoner is housed as well as professionals who come into contact with the prisoner are also members of the committee. Professionals include social workers, psychologists, educationist, or religious workers who might be involved in the prisoners' treatment programmes.5 The chairperson has the final ruling in terms of procedures that are to be adopted by the Institutional Committee.

The committee's work revolves around work allocation, observation of prisoners, custodial classification, transfers and other matters related to the prisoners' treatment. The committee does not make the final decisions but it refers its recommendations either to the Head of Prison or another board or more senior officer.

The Institutional Committee's involvement with a prisoner covers the entire period for which a prisoner is detained in a prison.

The prisoner must appear before the committee as soon as possible after admission when he will receive guidance regarding:

  • the rights and privileges of each prisoner;
  • the rules which apply in the prison;
  • the disciplinary system;
  • participation in the multi-disciplinary programme; and
  • special vocational programmes which are available.6

A needs-assessment is done in respect of each prisoner upon admission and thereafter every six months where the prisoner is re-evaluated.

The Institutional Committee's work also involves the allocation of credits for prisoners who have observed prison rules and those who are involved in treatment programmes. It holds disciplinary hearings if a prisoner has contravened any regulation.7 It is of great importance to note that subsection (10) of section 54 of the Act stipulates that no legal representation is allowed during the proceedings on disciplinary hearings for contravention of regulations.

The Institutional Committee thus focuses primarily on the management of programmes in respect of each prisoner and it also hears and settles cases involving disciplinary offenses against any prisoner for any alleged contravention of or failure to comply with any provision of any regulation. The system of awarding credits to prisoners which is determined by the Institutional Committee has an effect on the date of release of prisoners. The release of hardened criminals back into society affects the community directly. Therefore, the community should be involved in developing which criteria are used in awarding credits and in ensuring that they are applied properly. This process is also to ensure that proper programmes for rehabilitation are carried out. The process that is followed by the committee needs to be transparent both for the public and the prisoners themselves.

Currently there is a complete lack community involvement in this Committee. Whilst recognising that this Committee is responsible for observing prisoners progress during the period of imprisonment, and only people working within a prison where the prisoner is housed are able to fulfil this task, there are aspects noted above in which the community should be involved.

Correctional Boards

In terms of Section 5 of the Act, the Minister may appoint Correctional Boards at a prison or in a region. The Correctional Boards, may consist of members and non-members of the Department of Correctional Services. The discretion on the composition of such a Board lies with the Minister and the termination or appointment of any member is decided by the Minister.

Section 61 (b) of the Act sets out the function of the Correctional Board, which is to liaise between the community and the regional activities of the Department. It aims to promote and increase interest of the community and its involvement in correctional matters through these boards. The function of the Correctional Boards is also to advise the Minister on matters which are to considered by the National Advisory Council on Correctional Services.

The powers, functions and duties the correctional boards are determined in terms of section 61A(a) to (e) of the Act and includes the following:

    • to take such steps as may be necessary for the effective reintegration of released prisoners and probationers into the community;
    • to extend and promote the community's interests and involvement in correctional matters;
    • to make suggestions to the Minister regarding any matter which ought to be considered by the National Advisory Council;
    • to advise the Minister regarding the most cost effective running of a region in which such a board is involved; and
    • to discuss any matter connected with the effective functioning of the Department and make suggestions in that regard to the commissioner or commander of the area concerned.


The powers and functions of the Correctional Board as outlined above are crucial as they affect the community and the re-integration of prisoners. The community should be more practically involved to promote its interest and that of the prisoner. When the Correctional Board was established the idea was that they should consist of representatives from the community as well as members of the Department of Correctional Services.9 Members of the community are supposed to apply to the Minister for serving on these Boards. People who are currently serving in these Boards should be known by the community and be accessible in order forward suggestions to them as this board is created for the community to convey its wishes and desires to the Department.

The selection criteria of the Correctional Boards must be clearly defined to ensure true representation of the community. The process for selection of people to sit in these boards should first start by identifying Non-Governmental Organisations, church and other community structures which represents the community in that particular area.

The National Advisory Council on Correctional Services

A 1991 amendment to the Correctional Services Act makes provision for the replacement of the Advisory Release Board by a body named National Advisory Council which is given far wider responsibilities for policy making in the sphere of prison administration.10

The Act requires that the Council should consist of a Judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa, a magistrate of a Regional Division, an Attorney-General or deputy, a member of the S.A.P and a member of the Department of Correctional Services of or above the rank of brigadier.

The Act stipulates that in Section 5B1(f) to (h) other members are:

  • an official of a social welfare authority who holds the rank of director or an equivalent or higher rank and who has been designated by the Minister of National Health;
  • two or more persons who are not in the full-time service of the State and who, in the opinion of the Minister, have special knowledge or experience of matters connected with the powers, functions and duties of the Department; and
  • one or more persons designated by the Minister who may be co-opted for any purposes as members in specific cases or in general.

During the period of January 1993 to December 1993, the only representatives of a community based organisation were two people from National Institute for Crime and Rehabilitation of Offenders (NICRO). The council also has three academics and the President of the South African Agricultural Union.11

Clearly the community is not well represented in this council. There is a need to involve all role players from the community itself and from Non-Governmental Organisations in the selection of people who will serve in this council. People selected from organisations serving the community can serve the council better as they are directly accountable to the community and they represent the community's interest.

The councils functions are to consider policy and advise the Minister on the following matters;

The general policy which ought to be followed in respect of:

  • correctional supervision and matters in connection therewith;
  • the detention and treatment of prisoners;
  • the placement of prisoners on parole;
  • the release of prisoners;
  • the placement of prisoners on daily parole; and
  • the efficient and most cost-effective management of the Department.12

The council has no executive powers. It may only advise the Minister although it does not have to wait for its advice to be requested but may offer advice of its own accord. It is nonetheless an important policy making body.

Parole Boards

Parole Boards in terms of Section 5C of the Act have just been recently established during March 1994.13 Its work revolves around making recommendations regarding the paroling of prisoners or conversion of imprisonment into correctional supervision of individual prisoners. Parole Boards, like Institutional Committees are established at each prison. "The Parole Boards consists of people who may be members or non-members of the Department, who the Commissioner may determine and of whom –

(a) one shall be designated by the Commissioner as chairman of that board; and
(b) at least one shall in respect of each prisoner who appears before such board, be a member of the institutional committee at the prison where the prisoner in question is being detained".14

The period and conditions for holding such a office shall be determined by the Minister.15 People serving on the Parole board, but who are not in full-time service of the State, may receive remuneration and allowances as the Minister may determine in consultation with the Minister of State Expenditure.16

The White Paper issued by the Department with regard to release policy and new disciplinary procedures and its emphasis on creating Parole Boards was that "the community has a direct interest in these recommendations and consequently it is proper that the community has representation on the Parole Board".17

The Minister has all the powers to appoint people to serve in the Parole Board. The criteria used for appointing people to serve in such a board needs to be transparent and the community which is most affected must be consulted through Civics, NGOs and Community Based Organisation. However, for prisons to function properly,"to look after prisoners with humanity and to ensure their return to the society where they will lead law-abiding and useful lives, greater community involvement and support in prison is necessary".18

From all of the above mentioned committees and boards we can deduce that attempts to involve the community were made but were not inclusive enough. There is a greater need to involve the entire community in this process. The composition of these committees does not reflect a balanced representation of all races within the South African context. Few black people, if any, are serving under such structures. These structures were created under apartheid system of government and their creation was undemocratic. The most affected were not consulted. Community organisations such as Civics, Churches, Political, Non-Governmental Organisation, and other community structures were not involved in the formation of these committees and boards. Such structures in the eyes of an African person have totally failed to achieve its functions because its transparency and public accountability is limited.

Prisons and the Community: A new partnership

The running of prisons in South Africa have been directly affected by the political changes in the country since the beginning of 1990. The Prisons Services was separated from the Department of Justice and renamed the Department of Correctional Services. The release of political prisoners during 1992 and 1993 had an impact on the Correctional Services. A new sentence of "Correctional Supervision" was also introduced allowing for the possibility of a reduction of a prison population. Significant reforms of the system have been implemented and there have been some improvements in many respects like the introduction of Parole Boards and the Institutional Committee which up to now have played a tremendous role with regard to the time period and conditions of correctional service under which a prisoner is placed.

Every large community across the nation has its prominent public institutions like, museums, government offices, monuments and tourist attractions. All these institutions are very familiar to the average resident, "but in every large community there is one major public institution that remains an enigma to the majority of its citizens: the local prison".19 Communities are taking a doubtful look at their local prisons system, and they are realizing just how little they know about this major public institution.

Prisons staff and prisoners have been isolated from the broader community even though sometimes they are located within cities and near to prisoners' homes. The adoption of community involvement in prisons that we wish to see depends upon strengthening links between prisons and local communities as well as on changes in the policy of governing these institutions. By establishing working links between prisons and the community, it would be easier for those working in prisons whose, job is to deal with the welfare and resettlement of prisoners, to make full use of skills and help available from the community and voluntary organisations.

The coming together of Correctional Services and the community will encourage developments in the establishment of new policies on Correctional matters and such policies must be made known more widely. The need for monitoring and evaluation of what is being done must not be overlooked. The Correctional Services Department can longer attempt to provide all the necessary skills and experience needed to assist prisoners from the ranks of its own staff. This has been demonstrated by the recent spate of violence that has erupted in prisons throughout the country before and after the elections. The Department needs assistance from people and organisations from the local community in order to avoid any misunderstandings, either between prisoners and prison officials or between prisoners, the community and prison officials.

Informing and educating people about what goes on inside their own local prison system is no easy task. In fact, many prison authorities or administrators make little effort to create ongoing communications between themselves and the public.

The time has come when the closed doors of prisons must be opened for more than just prisoner bookings and releases. Prisons must be opened to the public so that there is a better understanding of what prisons can and cannot accomplish. No one is better able to communicate the capabilities and limitations of prisons than those who run them. It is the responsibility of prison authorities to let the public know what to realistically expect from public institutions like prisons, but also for communities to tell prison authorities what they expect from them.

There are three basic measures which the prison authorities could use to bridge the gap between their institution and the public;

(i) knowing the concerns of the community,
(ii) creating community support for specific prisons programs,
(iii) understanding the media.20

The involvement of the community in prisons should be viewed as an opportunity to lessen the gap and connect prisoners with the community. By knowing the concerns of the community, prison authorities will have a chance of improving their programmes according to needs of the community and prisoners they serve. Working with the media is very important in order to promote public awareness about Correctional Services and its objectives.

The community at large expect more from the government to run facilities in accordance with the goals of the community and to creatively reduce recidivism by focusing on individual restraint. What is needed, however is a clear direction, a realistic statement of expectations, and a willingness to give innovative programs a chance to work. The interest of the community and that of the prisoner are the most important. Efforts in the form of rehabilitation programmes must be made available and they must conform with community prescriptions.

Creating community support for prisons begins by working closely with structures or communities which normally report or inspect local prison facilities. These include structures such as the Citizen Advisory Committees, Parole Board21 and the Lay Visitors Committee which are crucial components of a community involvement philosophy.

Citizen Advisory Committees22

Committees and boards which were previously created for community participation in Correctional Services should be revisited and be structured in such a way that they will represent the entire community. These committees should be created at national, provisional, and local level.

The Citizens' Advisory Committees as implemented in Canada which allow for more community involvement and participation in Correctional matters could be used as a guideline. This would allow the community to have a say in policy formulation on Correctional matters. Its work would focus on policy formulation, which is presently being performed by the National Advisory Council on Correctional Services. However, people who serve in such structures should be community appointed and community based. The community should have a greater say as to who sits in such structures and criteria for appointment should be established by legislature. The Citizen Advisory Committees would provide the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) with valuable information and suggestions about community concerns and opinions surrounding prisons and prisoners issues.

What is needed most is to formulate a common approach between the community and the Correctional officials as to what role the community will and can play in creating such a structure.

Parole Board23

The Canadian model of a National Parole Board is another structure which creates a means for the community to be involved in prisons. As discussed above, Parole Boards have been recently established by the Department of Correctional Services, but with some limitations. Parole is usually granted to those prisoners who have served part of their sentence. Parole is a way of helping deserving inmates make a controlled return to society and of significantly increasing an offenders' chances for success in making that transition. Some of the Parole Board members must be drawn from the community, bringing its concerns and values to bear in the release decisions they make. The Parole Board should be a community board rather than a bureaucratic board and it must be characterised by a wide variety of participation in terms of background and experience.

When considering release, Board members should look at a number of factors, including the offender's criminal and psychiatric history, family history, efforts toward self improvement and rehabilitation, and the environment to which the offender is returning.24

When a prisoner is being considered for parole, clear and transparent guidelines should be made available to the prisoner concerned. Factors that are taken into account should be clear and understandable. Objectivity and transparency will actually avoid accusations and promote confidence in the system between authorities, prisoners, and the community where the prisoner will go after being released.

Lay Visitors Committee

The prevailing conditions in South African Prisons vary from prison to prison and they generally fall short of the requirements of The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.25 The prison population is growing and many prisoners are accommodated in cells that were originally designed to house fewer prisoners. Prisoners often complain of not being given adequate care, bedding, balanced diet and other necessary facilities which ought to be supplied by the Department. The powers of the courts to supervise the adequacy of prison conditions is limited, therefore there is a need to create structures which will inspect prisons on regular basis with the view of promoting prison conditions and accountability.

Lay Visitors Committees (LVCs) should be established in every place where there's a correctional institution. The purpose of such committees is to enable members of the community to observe, comment and report on the conditions of prisons and treatment of prisoners. Such committees will provide an independent check on the way correctional officials carry out their duties with regard to prisoners and the environment. Community structures should be responsible for selecting people who will organise and manage such committees with powers to visit prisons without notice and when security measures allow.

With regard to reports, the Lay Visitor Committees should meet regularly to discuss reports and follow up action, It is suggested that visitors reports should be presented to the Head of the Prison and to other committees for further discussion. The Head of the Prison or any official designated by him/her must attend to any aspect in the report which he/she can give any immediate solutions.

The establishment of Lay Visitors Committees is aimed at promoting public confidence in the work that is performed by prisons and bringing together prisons, prisoners and the community. As a result the public in each area where there is a correctional institution will have a better understanding of how prisoners are treated.

Need for Community Education about Prisons and Prisoners

The need for community education about prison and prisoners is of utmost importance both to the community and the Correctional Services as the community is uninformed about events and programmes happening inside prisons. The community needs to be informed about purpose of imprisonment, prison programmes, rehabilitation of offenders and re-integration into community. The community also needs to know about prisoners and visitors rights. The community should be educated about how, its members can interact with prisons. A knowledge of prisoners rights could inform the way they interact with prisoners and their expectations of the prison system. This is to enable communities to get better understanding of how prison works and what it does, so that they can interact with it.

Some sectors of the community have their misconceptions about prisoners. Through education the community can change its view about prisons and prisoners.

Members of the community should become empowered by learning about prisoners rights and playing a part in shaping the incarceration environment for prisoners. Community members can be empowered to have greater knowledge as ordinary members of the community. For example, a knowledge of the rights to visit could facilitate their visits to prisoners as they could then insist on visits and length of visits.

A national network independent of Correctional Services comprising of various organisations and community structures should be established. This network would serve to provide information and education which would strive to empower communities and encourage their involvement in prisons. This network would reach out to members of community and educate them as well.

The training of community leaders could be carried out through this network. Resources and expertise to local communities should be provided in order to promote assistance in their engagement with the prison authorities. Non-Governmental Organisations which are presently working for reform in corrections should assist in this process. Community workshops should be organised whereby local prisons Officials and the community can be involved in a process of discussing the establishment of a working relationship.

Accountability and Transparency

Transparency and accountability must be seen as cornerstones of an open and democratic society. The public needs to be informed and involved in the process of initiating change within the Department of Correctional Services. The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), which is regarded as the vehicle toward nation building also, underpins the concept of accountability and the role of civil society in influencing government policies and programmes within it. The reconstruction of the society should extend also to the upliftment of prisoners' lives as members of the entire society.

For the rights and needs of the prisoners and those of the community to be met there must be clear, visible and accountability by the Department of Correctional Services. The pre-requisite for more community involvement in prisons is a set of effective mechanisms for ensuring that Correctional Services is more accountable to the community its serves. A responsible prison service is one where its priorities and methods are similar to community values.

To build up more accountability and transparency, mechanisms such as the office of an ombudsperson should be created with the sole responsibility to hear and investigate complaints from prisoners and to ensure that they are properly dealt with.26 This system is also supported by (Neser:1993) whereby he states that "democracy, with its emphasis on the right of the individual, requires an ombudsman system which may ensure that the power of the state is not abused."27 It is unsatisfactorily for prisoners to make their complaints to the prison authorities of which they are complaining.

The Lay Visitors Scheme which will run under the auspices of the Lay Visitors Committee as discussed above should also be established. This would give content to the principle of transparency and accountability as adopted by the Government of National Unity. Under this scheme, members of the community should have free access to conduct unannounced visits through which random checks can be made by the independent lay persons. This system would serve to reassure the community about the conditions under which prisoners are held.

Implementation Process

With the Government of National Unity in power, the community is eager for change in government institutions. For such structures to work properly and to achieve all aims mentioned, the government should provide resources to set up such structures. The State should collaborate in education programmes for prisons, prisoners and for the community, with Non-Governmental Organisations and community organisations which are already working on reform of prisons in South Africa.

Liaison Committees must be set up first to discuss the needs of prisons and prisoners as perceived by the community. The composition of these liaison committees must be based on the local dynamics of that particular area. Guidelines for participation should be necessarily required in order to ensure that there is sufficient participation. These committees must have representatives from all sectors of society: political, religious, civics, women's organisations, youth structures, and Correctional officials. The liaison committees will look at how best to deal with problems and which problems the community considered most urgent for the implementation of community involvement in prisons.

The powers and functions of Liaison Committees should at least consist of the following:

  • to supervise the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department of Correctional Services;
  • to advise the Department regarding local prisons priorities;
  • to encourage accountability of the Department to the community and co-operation of communities with the Department; and
  • the evaluation of the provision of visible prison service.

The above mentioned functions should not only be on a advisory level only but also at decision making level. The path for liaison committees to make decisions must be recognised. For liaison committees to have status, its composition, functions and duties should be legislated.


Community Involvement in prisons must be a participative process involving both prisons and the community. By participative process it is meant that the community together with the prison authorities must work together constantly, not only during crisis situations, but in ongoing matters of policy and admissions. Consultation between these two components of society in all matters which involve prisons and prisoners is important for the purposes of maintaining good working relationships and promoting greater community involvement. Because of the isolation from the broader community which prison administrators experience around the prison system in South Africa, it is unlikely that community involvement in prisons would be successful if it were centrally imposed. Because of complication of the issues in South Africa and the range of different types of communities it is essential that a wide range of interests groups are drawn into discussions on community involvement in prisons.

The establishment and successful functioning of community involvement in prisons can help to improve the treatment of inmates and running of prisons by the Department of Correctional Services. By establishing all structures mentioned in this paper, the emphasis must be on opening the Department of the Correctional Services to public scrutiny and involvement. The local prisons must be accountable to the community, and more concerned with finding long-term solutions in running of local prisons together with the community they serve. Prisons authorities must be seen on the ground as professionals and must adapt to interacting with the community.

Greater community involvement in prisons would assist the prisons by allowing ordinary people from the community to understand more fully the problems which prisons confront. Through a process of inclusive negotiations involving recipients, the community must be able to conceive, implement and take responsibility for the projects in a coordinated way as close to the grassroots as possible. In this way, a great and important step is taken in bringing government closer to the people and thereby ensuring more accountability to the people.

The government is an institution created by people, is in the hands of ordinary people and control should also come from the community which that government serves. If the government or any of its agencies, or departments force or do not involve the community in whatever changes it makes it may result in a breakdown in law, high crime rates, riots within prisons and lack of dissatisfaction with governance.


1 Roberts, J. (1994)

2 Act No. 8 of 1959

3 See Chapter VI of Act 8 of 1959

4 See Annexure 2

5 D. Van Zyl Smit. South African Prison Law and Practice, p. 134

6 Correctional Services Annual Report, January 1993 – December 1993, p. 9.

7 Section 54

8 Section 61

9 Department of Correctional Services White Paper, 6 May 1991, p. 19

10 Section 5B as introduced by section 7 of Act 122 of 1991.

11 Department of Correctional Services Annual Report, January 1993 – December 1993, p. 7&8

12 Section 64 of the Act

13 Section 4 of Correctional Services Amendment Act No. 68 of 1993, effected on 1 March 1994

14 See Section 5C

15 Ibid

16 Ibid

17 Department of Correctional Services White paper on Amendment of the Release Policy and Proposed New Disciplinary System for Prisoners, 11 March 1993, p. 7

18 Community Involvement in Prisons, unpublished paper by Thipanyane, T., Centre for Criminal Justice, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

19 American Jails, the Magazine of American Jail Association, Vol. V No. 3, August 1991, p. 15

20 Ibid

21 Taken from brochure on Federal Correction in the Community, Canada

22 This concept is adopted from the Canadian model and it is promoted by the Correctional Services of Canada to make the community more aware of what is happening in Corrections.

23 Ibid

24 Taken from a brochure on parole, Canada

25 Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners was adopted by the First UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held in Geneva 1955.

26 The office of an ombudsperson should be created for all prisons. For more information on ombudsperson, see document on Prison Policy drafted by the Penal Reform Lobby Group, July 1994.

27 Neser, J (ed.) Penitentiary Penology 2nd Edition, p. 422.


Department of Correctional Services Annual Report, January 1993 to December 1993.

Department of Correctional Services White Paper on Amendment of the Release Policy and Proposed New Disciplinary System for Prisoners. 11 March 1993. Pretoria: Government Printer.

Department of Justice and Correctional Services. White Paper on Extension of the Mission of the Department of Correctional Services And the Implementation of Correctional Supervision as an Alternative Sentencing Option. 06 May 1991. Pretoria: Government Printer.

Hennessy, M. (1991) "Jails and the Community". American Jails, Volume V Number 3, August 1991.

Neser, J.J. ed.(1993), Penitentiary Penology 2nd Edition. Johannesburg: Lexicon Publishers

Penal Reform Lobby Group, (July 1994). Prison Policy Document.

Roberts, J. (1994). "The relationship between the community and the prison". In Player, and Jenkins, M. ed. (1994) Prisons after Woolf: Reform through Riot, London: Routledge, p 229.

Thipanyane, T. "Community Involvement in Prisons", unpublished paper, Centre for Criminal Justice, University of Natal, Petermaritzburg.

Van Zyl Smit, D. (1992), South African Prison Law and Practice, Durban:Butterworths.

Statutes of the Republic of South Africa

Correctional Services Act No.8 of 1959.

Correctional Services Amendment Act No.68 of 1993.

Correctional Services Amendment Act No. 122 of 1991.

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