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The Judicial Inspectorate

The Judicial Inspectorate is an independent office under the control of the Inspecting Judge. The Inspectorate was formally established with effect from 1 June 1998, in terms of section 25 of the Correctional Services Act no.8 of 1959 (as amended by the Correctional Services Act no.102 of 1997). Judge JJ Trengove was appointed by the President from the aforesaid date as the Inspecting Judge.

The constitution and structure of the Inspectorate,and the powers, functions and duties of the Inspecting Judge, to which I shall later refer in greater detail, are presently governed by the provisions of sections 85 to 94 of the Act. These sections came into operation on 8 February 1999, being the date fixed by the President by proclamation no.R20, 1999 of 19 February in the Gazette, as provided for in section 138 of the Act.

ENABLING LEGISLATION

The Correctional Services Act no.8 of 1959 was amended, to provide for the establishment of the Judicial Inspectorate, the appointment of an Inspecting Judge and Independent Prison Visitors, on 20 February 1997 by proclamation of the Correctional services Amendment Act no.102 of 1997.

This legislation was further amended on 19 February 1999 by proclamation of sections 85 to 94 of the Correctional Services Act no.111 of 1998.

The establishment of the Inspectorate must be viewed against the background of the Act as a whole, which provides for the introduction of radical and far-reaching changes in our correctional system and seeks to give effect to the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, Act 108 of 1996 and in particular its provisions with regard to prisoners. For example, in chapter III of the Act provision is made for the custody of all prisoners under conditions of human dignity, while chapter IV provides for an enlightened policy of implementation of prison sentences with the objective of enabling sentenced prisoners to lead socially responsible and crime-free lives in future.

The Judicial Inspectorate is one of the so-called independent mechanisms provided for in the Act to investigate and scrutinize the activities of the Department of Correctional Services. However, during the period covered by this report, the provisions in the Act in which the Inspectorate is mainly concerned, such as those set out in chapters III and IV, had not yet come into operation by virtue of a date fixed by proclamation, as provided for in section 138 of the Act and consequently, in carrying out its investigative functions, the Inspectorate still has to have regard to the provisions of the Correctional Services Act, 1959, and the regulations and orders relating thereto. The task of the Inspectorate will be considerably facilitated if a date for the coming into operation of the remaining provisions of the Act were to be fixed by proclamation in the Gazette in terms of section 138, as soon as possible.