Compliance through pain

Electric shock equipment in South African prisons. A joint briefing by Omega and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS, South Africa). Examining the misuse of electric shock equipment and recommending the prohibition of body worn electric shock devices.

A variety of different electric shock devices are authorised for use in South African prisons. These are designed to enforce compliance through pain, incapacitation or fear of activation. However, their use has been associated with acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This policy brief provides an overview of electric shock equipment and describes known harmful medical effects associated with its use. It highlights the use and misuse of these devices in correctional institutions in South Africa, and outlines how and why this equipment is in breach of local, regional and international human rights, policing and judicial norms and standards. This brief is designed to raise awareness of these concerns and to provide recommendations for change in how electric shock equipment is used in South Africa.