Submission to the Department of Correctional Services and the Portfolio Committee for Justice and Correctional Services

Regarding the Department of Correctional Services 2019/2020 Annual Performance Plan

The Detention Justice Forum (DJF) is a civil society coalition of non-governmental organisations and individuals working to ensure that the rights and well-being of those who are detained are respected and upheld, as enshrined under the South African Constitution, laws, and regional and international human rights norms and standards. Our membership includes community organisations, lawyers, social workers, former inmates, and academics with varied foci and degrees of engagement in the detention and human-rights sectors – spanning direct service provision and (former and current) detainee support and empowerment, advocacy and policy development.

We were privileged enough to have representation at the Portfolio Committee meeting held on the 4th of July 2019 where the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) presented their 2019/2020 Annual Performance Plan (APP). We have also had the opportunity to review the APP since the meeting. We commend the Portfolio Committee’s strong engagement with DCS and feel that DCS responded to concerns relatively transparently.

As part of our contribution as civil society to the ongoing efforts to improve the conditions of South Africa’s correctional facilities and strengthen the rehabilitation of former detainees, we make this submission of comments based on our observations of some of the key issues mentioned in the APP.