Use of less/non lethal items by correctional officials. December 2010.

Submission on the Correctional Matters Amendment Bill [B41-2101] concerning Electro-Shock Devices, Teargas, Batons, Leg-Cuffs and Belly-Chains.

The Omega Research Foundation (Omega) and the Arms Management Programme of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) commend the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) for their efforts to improve the administration of corrections, in particular the current process to clarify certain provisions relating to parole; to provide for a new medical parole system and to ‘provide for the management and detention of remand detainees’. We are, however, concerned that the Bill does not deal with a key aspect of remand detainees’ detention experience: the use of force by correctional officials, in particular the use of less lethal and restraint equipment. We submit that reviewing the use of this equipment is crucial if the proposed Bill is to meet its stated purpose to ‘provide for the management and detention of remand detainees’.

Our submission thus provides recommendation on how the Correctional Matter Amendment Bill (and hence the principal statute, the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998) could be modified to better address these concerns.