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The Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons Online Reporting System
Institution: Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons and the South African Department of Correctional Services
Theme: Internet Governance
Implementation Date: Jun 01, 1998
Summary: South Africa's Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons (JIP) -- a watchdog body overseeing the treatment of prisoners and prison conditions -- uses an online system for reporting on prison issues and communicating with Independent Prison Visitors and prison managers.
South Africa's prisons are seriously overcrowded. Prisoners have to cope with restricted living space, poor sanitation, the spread of disease, unsatisfactory food, and inadequate healthcare, all of which breeds tension and violence and can lead to human rights violations.
JIP was established to inspect and report on the treatment of prisoners and conditions in prisons. Independent Prison Visitors were appointed countrywide to visit prisons, interview prisoners, and file monthly reports to JIP. As part of prison oversight, it has also become compulsory for prison managers to report all deaths in prisons to JIP and to seek permission from the office before putting prisoners in mechanical constraints, segregating them, or putting them in solitary confinement. These mechanisms are intended to safeguard against the mistreatment of prisoners.  Instead of faxing through paper reports, Independent Prison Visitors submit an electronic version of prisoner complaints and other reports directly into the system, using the Internet.

Impact: The electronic system produced two remarkable successes. The first and most important was the empowerment of people. With its implementation, the effectiveness of the system has motivated the Independent Prison Visitors to learn and acquire the skills needed. The second success was the savings in staff costs and increased efficiency. It has reduced the administrative time it takes to calculate billed hours and to pay the Independent Prison Visitors from about 20 days to less than 5 days. Only two people are now needed to deal with all payments and reports from Independent Prison Visitors; instead of the ten people needed without this system.
Source: The bridges.org
Project Home URL: http://judicialinsp.dcs.gov.za/intromap.asp

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