What should prisons in a constitutional democracy look like ?. This article will make the arguments that to make prisons compatible with a constitutional democracy, as understood in South Africa, four requirements would need to be met. Firstly that the prison system would have to possess an underlying philosophical framework derived from the Constitution. Secondly prisons must not violate the rights of prisoners listed in the Table of Non-Derogable Rights (section 37) and the rights enumerated in section 35 in the Constitution. Thirdly, the executive must be accountable in respect of prisons and finally prisons must function in a transparent manner. These requirements will be explored under the contexts of rights requirement, accountability as well as transparency.
Lukas Muntingh is co-founder and Project Coordinator of Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR). He holds a PhD (Law) from UWC and an MA (Sociology) from Stellenbosch University.