The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act No. 108 of 1996) lays the basis for the mandate of the Department of Correctional Services. The Constitution compels the Department to comply with the following sections in terms of the treatment of offenders:
• Section 9 – Equality.
• Section 10 – Human dignity.
• Section 12 – Freedom and security of the person.
• Section 27 – Right to health care services.
• Section 28 – Children’s rights.
• Section 29 – Right to education.
• Section 31 – Freedom of religion.
• Section 35 – Rights to humane treatment and to communicate and be visited by family, next of kin etc.
Correctional Services Act (No.111 of 1998) as amended
The Act seeks to provide amongst others, for a correctional system; the establishment, functions and control of the Department of Correctional Services; the custody of all offenders under conditions of human dignity; the rights and obligations of sentenced offenders; the rights and obligations of unsentenced offenders; a system of community corrections; release from correctional centres and placement under correctional supervision, on day parole and parole; a National Council for Correctional Services; a Judicial Inspectorate; Independent Correctional Centre Visitors; repeal and amendment of certain laws; and matters connected therewith.
Criminal Procedure Act (No. 51 of 1977)
The following sections of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No 51 of 1977) are of particular importance to the DCS, namely, section 63A, Chapter 28 and section 299A. Section 63A of the CPA, provides for a procedure in terms of which the Court may, on application by a Head of a Correctional Centre and if not opposed by the Director of Public Prosecutions concerned, order the release of certain accused on warning in lieu of bail or order the amendment of the bail conditions imposed by that court on the accused. Section 63A also forms the basis of a protocol between JCPS departments to encourage the utilization of this provision to assist accused persons who do not pose a danger to society to be released from detention under circumstances where the bail set by the court cannot be afforded by the accused or his or her family. Chapter 28 of the CPA deals with sentencing and the whole Chapter is applicable to the DCS’s mandate. Offenders must be detained in accordance with the sentences handed down under this Chapter. The granting of parole and the conversion of sentences to correctional supervision is also done in accordance with this Chapter, read together with the Correctional Services Act, 1998 (Act No 111 of 1998). Finally, section 299A of the CPA regulates victim involvement in the decisions of parole boards.
The White Paper on Corrections in South Africa (2005) obliges management to:
• capacitate the Department of Correctional Services to play its role as a security institution responsible for the promotion of public safety through breaking the cycle of crime;
• develop the Department of Correctional Services into an institution of rehabilitation and
• Social reintegration; and
• promote corrections as a societal responsibility.
The White Paper on Remand Detention Management in South Africa, 2014 which was approved in March 2014 after consultation with the Cabinet, several stakeholders and the Portfolio Committee of DCS is relevant in relation to the mandate of remand detention and consistent with the Correctional Matters Amendment Act (Act 5 of 2011) and other local and international policies and protocols.