African Renaissance Conference  24- 26 May 2018




    The transformation of prisons to corrections is not, and has not been, a South African priority alone.

    Many African countries have driven transformation processes over the past years, and some are at a more advanced stage than others. The task of driving this kind of transformation is huge, and is made worse by the entrenched legacy of the colonial and apartheid systems that ruined many of our
    societies for centuries. Most characteristics of our prisons and correctional systems have deep roots in the era of political, social, and economic subjugation which continue to manifest in in among others the

    following challenges: 

    •  Greater propensity for using incarceration for all kinds of crime resulting in perennial overcrowding and ageing infrastructure that is not coping with the traffic. 
    • Under-resourcing of prisons leading to inadequate food, poor hygiene and limited services such as social work and psychological services. 
    • Disproportionally large number of remand detainees, which in some countries are 97% of inmates. 
    • Rehabilitation is elusive where access to education, skills development, family connections and general empowerment of offenders are not prioritized.
    But the African continent is not short of conventions and protocols to guide transformation. The African union has endorsed a number of these such as the Kampala Declaration on Prison Conditions
    in Africa (1996) and the Ouagadougou Plan of Action on Accelerating Prison and Penal Reforms in Africa.

    In a bid to translate the lofty ideals into practical solutions and to broaden its membership base, members of the Conference of Eastern Southern and Central African Commissioners of
    Correctional Services (CESCA) decided in 2005 to disband the organisation and establish the Africa Correctional Services Association (ACSA). ACSA became real at its opening conference in Zambia in 2008 with 30 Africa countries affiliating to it.

    The South African Department of Correctional Services has been a leading focus in the development and growth of ACSA over the years by among others, fulfilling secretariat duties. The South African National Commissioner of Correctional Services is currently ACSA’s chairperson, helping to advance
    its programme of action which includes expanding its membership to all 54 African  countries, establishing corrections as a profession, strengthening collaboration with all players in the corrections industry and promoting corrections in development agendas. Our department has been a
    leading force in the development and growth of ACSA over the years by among others fulfilling secretariat duties. Later this year we will participate in another milestone when ACSA will hold its third Biennial Conference in Mozambique 
    in July 2014.
    Interesting Facts
    In 1941, the first Conference of African Commissioners of Prisons was held in Mobassa, Kenya to discuss penal matters. Meetings of this forum took place until 1953 when there was a break in its activities until 1993. Efforts to revive the forum of African Commissioners of Prisons culminated
    in the formation of the Conference of Eastern Southern and Central African Commissioners of Correctional Services (CESCA) in 1993. The call for establishing an African corrections body was first made in Arush, Tanzania in 1999. The member states of ACSA are Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius,
    Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tchad, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe