Remand detention, also known as awaiting-trial detention, is a pathway into corrections, as it is the first process of detaining a person after they have been arrested until conclusion of their trial. In order to craft a successful rehabilitation path for inmates, it is important that effective and efficient systems are put in place from the onset in the administration and release of remand detainees. This sentiment was accentuated during the Remand Detention Consultative Session, held on 12 November 2021, at Pollsmoor Management Area in the Western Cape region.
The session, attended by representatives of the Free State/ Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Western Cape regions, is part of a series of consultation sessions aimed at monitoring and evaluating the allocation of remand detainees’ uniform as well as management of the Continuous Risk Assessment (CRA) tool in correctional centres. The purpose of these sessions is to engage with Heads of Correctional Centres (HCCs), after it was identified that there were shortfalls in the allocation of inmate uniform. The shortfalls were attributed to challenges emanating from supply chain processes, workshops hindering production processes, communication breakdown between logistics personnel and the end-users, amongst others. It was also identified that the CRA reporting tool, to assess and administrate remand detainees, is not being used and applied accurately.
As stipulated in the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) White Paper on Remand Detention Management, the wearing of civilian clothes by inmates can create a security risk, by making it difficult to distinguish between inmates and civilians working inside a correctional centre. The White Paper further enunciates that all remand detainees should be supplied with sets of uniform (yellow), which is different from the one prescribed for sentenced inmates (orange).
In his keynote address, the acting National Commissioner, Makgothi Thobakgale expressed how pleased he was to see all inmates at Qalakabusha Correctional Centre, in the KwaZulu-Natal region, wearing their full uniform. He observed this laudable work when he visited the centre on 11 October 2021, during a surprise search. He commended the Branch: Remand Detention for projecting the allocation of remand detainee’s uniform, and ensuring that the department delivers on its mandate. He advised all HCCs in attendance to read and understand the Supply Chain Management approved policies and procedures, in order to follow the prescribed and legal processes, especially when ordering uniform. He further encouraged them to assimilate the DCS’ Self-Sufficiency and Sustainability Strategic Framework (SSSF) in their centres, and become innovative and contribute towards having all correctional facilities manufacturing their own uniform.
The HCCs also had robust discussions and raised challenges they encounter with other counterparts in the security cluster, including the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Judiciary (courts). These challenges include the detention of inmates with minor offences/charges in centres that are already overcrowded, and the classification of remand detainees within 7 days with the shortage of security officials. In an effort to mitigate against these challenges, Chief Deputy Commissioner (CDC): Remand Detention, Moeketsi Mashibini encouraged HCCs to engage with magistrate courts during their cluster meetings, to inform and highlight the importance of all systems and procedures that are used to manage overcrowding in the centres. He also informed the HCCs that the department is working on a Remand Detention Overcrowding Reduction Strategy.
The second and final leg of the current Remand Detention Consultative Sessions will be held on 19 November 2021, at Durban Management Area, KwaZulu-Natal region, and will be attended by officials from Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal regions.