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9 Law Democracy & Dev. vii (2005)

handle is hein.journals/laacydev9 and id is 1 raw text is: Editorial
The last few months have seen the development of an entirely new
framework for South African corrections. First, the bulk of the 1998
Correctional Services Act (I I I of 1998) was promulgated, some sections
becoming operative with effect from 31 July 2004 and the remainder
coming into effect from I October 2004.' The 1998 Act was drafted to
replace the outdated Correctional Services Act 8 of 1959 and to bring
correctional standards in line with the Constitution of the Republic of
South Africa (Act 108 of 1996). However, a lengthy period of more than
five years elapsed before the Act was put into operation. In the event,
however, the significance of the promulgation of the Act has been
eclipsed, In March 2005, the Department of Correctional Services released
a new White Paper on Corrections, setting a new agenda for prisons and
prisoners in South Africa. A third significant development on the political
front was that the Corrections portfolio in the cabinet is now headed up
by a Minister and a Deputy Minister from the ruling party, unlike the
previous era which saw inkatha Freedom Party ministers in charge of
Corrections since 1994.
It cannot be gainsaid that South African corrections were, at the begin-
ning of this decade, in a parlous state. Prison overcrowding had escalated
to the point where civil society had begun to voice concern. The Jali
Commission of Inquiry was appointed by the President to investigate
corruption in South African prisons. Shortly after this, dramatic, secretly
filmed video footage of trade in liquor and the sale of children for sexual
favours in Grootvlei prison was broadcast around the world. Public shock
ensued, with the traditionally hidden world of prisons exposed to scrutiny.
At about this time, the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI) was
established with the objective of stimulating informed public debate
regarding matters relevant to corrections and to the criminal justice
system more generally.2 Part of the work of CSPRI was the commissioning
of a series of research papers concerning correctional issues to promote a
more grounded debate in civil society. These papers were released at
various seminars from July 2003 to December 2004 but have not been
properly published in printed form until now. This issue of Law, Democracy
& Development is, therefore, devoted to aspects of prisons and corrections
I However, the chapters of the Act establishing the Office of the Inspecting Judge of
Prisons and setting out the functions and responsibilities of the National Council on Cor-
rectional Services were promulgated in 1999,
2 The editor would like to thank the funders of CSPRI for their generosity in funding the
studies contained in this volume. In particular, thanks go to the Ford Foundation and
the Open Society Foundation of South Africa,

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