n South African Journal on Human Rights - Prison conditions in South Africa and the role of public interest litigation since 1994 : current developments / case notes

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-7203



A nation's prisons often reflect its socio-economic and socio-political context. This was certainly true of the colonial and the apartheid periods in South Africa. Prior to 1994, prison policy mirrored and reinforced broader apartheid policy. Prisons were segregated along racial lines and the use of prison labour was common. The system was brutal, and the courts did precious little to change anything. Over time, the South African government militarised the system, as the society progressively became a police state and was besieged by internal security strife.

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