Community Action Team protests for greater oversight of South African prisons

On 6 June 2019, Community Action Team (CAT) members protested outside of court to support the call for greater oversight over South African prisons.

Sonke Gender Justice and Lawyers for Human Rights filed an application in the Western Cape High Court, citing the government and the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (“JICS”) as respondents.

The purpose of the case is to facilitate greater oversight over South African prisons in order to help safeguard inmates’ rights and safety. After several process delays and postponements, the case has been set down for 6 June 2019.

Given that prisons are “closed” institutions that largely operate outside the public eye, independent prison oversight is vital to the protection of inmates’ human rights. Not only does regular monitoring and reporting help prevent abuses inside prisons, it also serves to raise public awareness of detention-related issues and prompt government accountability. The issue of an oversight body’s independence is particularly pertinent in these areas.