In celebration of Former President Nelson Mandela’s centenary, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), in partnership with the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice launched the Nelson Mandela Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners at Drakenstein Correctional Centre (previously Victor Verster Prison) on Tuesday.
The Nelson Mandela Rules deal with the humane treatment of prisoners – including prison conditions, transportation and prisoner health.
The Nelson Mandela Rules, also known as the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, were adopted by the United Nation General Assembly in 1955.
They were subsequently revised in 2015 and renamed the Nelson Mandela Rules “to accommodate recent advances in correctional services and best practices,” says spokesperson for DCS, Singabakho Nxumalo.
Nxumalo adds: “The rules are not a legally binding international agreement, and are not intended to describe in detail a model system of penal institutions. They seek only to set out what is generally accepted as being good principles and practice in the treatment of prisoners and prison management.”
However, investigations by the Wits Justice Project which have uncovered human rights abuses inside South African prisons reveal that the Mandela Rules seem to have been ignored since their adoption. DM
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