Submissions by the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative Impact on the Child Justice Act

These submissions are based, for the most part, on the CSPRI’s “Report on Children in Prison in South Africa (“the Report”),” which was published in May 2012. The Report is a comprehensive review of the situation of children in South Africa’s prisons and was undertaken with the following aims in mind: (a) to establish baseline information in respect of the imprisonment of children with a view to monitor the implementation of the Child Justice Act; and (b) to provide stakeholders with reliable information to be used in advocacy for prison and sentencing reform.

The research therefore focussed on: (a) investigating the legislative and policy framework pertaining to children in prison with particular reference to the Correctional Services Act and the Child Justice Act; (b) the conditions in which children are detained; (c) services rendered to sentenced and unsentenced children in prison; and (d) Statistics on children in prison in respect of age, gender, race, sentence profile, and offence profile.

The sources of data used in compiling the report, were: (a) Individual interviews with 19 children from a select number of prisons where children (sentenced and unsentenced) were detained. These prisons are: Brandvlei, Cradock, Emthonjeni, Kroonstad, Pollsmoor, Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg and Westville; (b) A checklist on infrastructure, conditions of detention and services to children were administered by Independent Visitors of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) at 41 prisons; and (c) Quantitative data on children in the correctional system was extracted from the DCS MIS with the assistance of the JICS.

Many of the Report’s findings have a bearing on the Child Justice Act. These will be presented in this submission.