Prison treaty signed in SA

JOHANNESBURG Some Southern African Heads of Corrections and Prisons including Zimbabwe, have signed a treaty that seeks to advance the transformation and harmonisation of prisons.

Dubbed the Sandton Declaration, the treaty was signed by Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, who were all represented at a Southern African Consultative Conference on Corrections and Prisons, held in Sandton on March 23-25, 2011.

The Conference elected South Africa to chair the forum with Mozambique, while Lesotho was nominated to support the process of properly establishing the forum. Explaining the rationale for adopting the declaration, South Africas National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Thomas Moyane, urged more co-operation within member states in the declaration.

Key among issues and flying in the face of Zimbabwes prison services, described as a hell-hole by a South African television programme on SABC 3 last year, was the need to provide decent meals and proper medication to prisoners as required by international standards.

Other best practices emphasised included regional cooperation on rehabilitation, alternative to imprisonment/incarceration, security and risk profiling management of offenders, which the heads said if adopted would make a meaningful contribution to reducing crime levels and promotion of public safety in the Southern African Region.

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