Report on impact of remand detention
TOMORROW sees the launch of a report on the socio-economic impact of remand detention on accused persons held at Pollsmoor remand and Pollsmoor female prisons in the Western Cape.
The investigation by Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) also looked into the effects of remand on the families and dependants of the detainees.
The results show that “the detention on remand of detainees has a measurable impact on the families and households of detainees, reducing incomes, depleting savings, often plunging families into debt, impacting on children, and forcing the sale of assets”.
ACJR’s report “Liberty not the only loss: the socio-economic impact of remand detention in the Western Cape”, found that one in every 50 adult men is admitted to remand detention per year in the Western Cape, and this has attendant social and economic costs.
In the Sonke Gender Justice 2016 court case (Sonke v Government of the Republic of South Africa) relating to severe overcrowding at Pollsmoor remand, Judge Vincent Saldanha of the Western Cape High Court found that the conditions of detention were unconstitutional as they undermined detainees’ human rights.
This impacted not only on detainees, but on their families and dependants, who had to compensate for the government’s shortfalls.
The launch, which will take place between 10am and noon at 6 Spin Street, will give participants the opportunity to understand and appreciate the trends as well as the numerous issues associated with remand detention.
A panel discussion with Lukas Muntingh (ACJR), Jean Redpath (ACJR), Ebenezer Durojaye (UWC) and Zia Wasserman (Sonke) will explore means of addressing the issues raised in the report.