The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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Prisons have always been a key focus of those interested in human rights and the rule of law. This book looks at the challenges African governments face in dealing with these issues.

Written by some of the most eminent researchers from and on Africa, including the former Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, it provides a detailed consideration of the situation in African prisons and examines how regional and international legal instruments have dealt with human rights concerns such as overcrowding, healthcare, pretrial detention and the treatment of women and children.

Critically, the book reveals that there are processes and reforms underway across nations in Africa, and makes recommendations for strengthening and building on them.

Co-published with Ohio University Press

Product information

Format : 240mm x 168mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 256
ISBN 10 : 07969-2206-3
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2206-9
Publish Year : 2008
Rights : World Rights excl. North America

1. INTRODUCTION
Jeremy Sarkin

  • Introduction
  • The importance of prison research
  • Why this book?
  • Rising global prisoner numbers
  • Are states with high prisoner populations more punitive?
  • The historical context
  • Conditions and overcrowding
  • Resources and prison governance
  • Awaiting trial detention
  • Women
  • Children
  • Rehabilitation
  • Alternative sentencing
  • The role of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
  • The Special Rappporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa
  • Prison reform in Africa
  • Conclusion

2. A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE PRISONS OF AFRICA
Steven Pet

  • Introduction
  • The Pre-Colonial Period
  • The Atlantic Slave Trade
  • The Colonial Period
  • The Post Colonial Period
  • Conclusion

3. CHALLENGES TO GOOD PRISON GOVERNANCE IN AFRICA
Chris Tapscott

  • Introduction
  • International Norms
  • Towards Administrative Reform of Prisons in Africa
  • The Promotion of Self Sufficiency
  • The Management of Health Care in Prisons
  • Overcrowding and Prison Design
  • The Management of Children and Youth
  • Rehabilitation Programmes
  • Human Resource Management
  • Independent Oversight of Prison Administration
  • Conclusion

4. OVERCROWDING IN AFRICAN PRISONS
E.V.O. Dankwa

  • Introduction
  • The Evil of Overcrowding
  • Causes of Overcrowding
  • The Reality
  • Measures of Hope
    • International Instruments on Overcrowding
  • Conclusion

5. PRETRIAL DETENTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN AFRICA
Martin Schnteich

  • Introduction
  • International standards and guidelines
  • African standards and jurisprudence
  • African resolutions and declarations on pretrial detention
  • Pretrial detention and imprisonment in Africa
  • Pretrial detention as a human rights issue
  • Developing solutions
  • Conclusion

6. CHILDREN IN AFRICAN PRISONS
Julia Sloth-Nielsen

  • Introduction
  • The prevalence of children in African prisons
  • International standards applicable to children in prisons
  • Prison conditions in practice
  • Positive aspects of African approaches to incarceration
  • Children of imprisoned mothers
  • Conclusions

7. UNCHARTED TERRITORY: THE IMPRISONMENT OF WOMEN IN AFRICA
Lisa Vetten

  • Introduction
  • The Imprisonment of Women Across the African continent
  • What leads to women being imprisoned?
  • Other institutions that are prison-like in nature and effect
  • Conclusions

8. REHABILITATION, DEVELOPMENT AND REINTEGRATION IN AFRICAN PRISONS
Amanda Dissel

  • Introduction
  • Defining rehabilitation and reintegration
  • Regional Instruments
  • Legislation and policy frameworks
  • The Practice of Rehabilitation and Reintegration in African prisons
  • What is the impact of rehabilitation and reintegration services for prisoners?
  • Conclusion

9. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING IN AFRICA: SOME LESSONS LEARNED AND FUTURE PROSPECTS
Lukas Muntingh

  • Introduction
  • The framework and origins for alternative sentencing in Africa
  • Alternative sentencing and prison overcrowding
  • Proportionality and inter-changeability of sanctions
  • Social conditions and alternative sentencing
  • Alternative sentencing in the broader system of governance
  • The future of alternative sentencing in Africa
  • Conclusion

10. THE APPROACH OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES' RIGHTS TO PRISONS
Rachel Murray

  • Introduction
  • Role of international institutions in assessing prison conditions
  • Visits by the Special Rapporteur
  • Standards adopted by the Commission with respect to prison conditions
  • Conclusion

Professor Jeremy Sarkin was Senior Professor of Law at the University of the Western Cape from 1990 to 2008 and is at present Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. In March 2008 he was elected by the Human Rights Council to be a Special Rapporteur and member of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. He served as the National Chairperson of the NGO Human Rights Committee of South Africa from 1994 to 1998, and has worked on constitutional, transitional issues (including truth commissions) in various countries, including Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and Burma. He served as an acting judge in 2002 and 2003 in the Cape High Court in South Africa.

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