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Trends and Phases of Corrections in Africa. By Maicibi , N. Alhas (Ph D) Research and Policy Development Advisor (UNAFRI ). Introduction. Current craze for change of the name of the service from Prison to Prison Service then to Correctional

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Trends and phases of corrections in africa

Trends and Phases of Corrections in Africa


Maicibi, N. Alhas (Ph D)

Research and Policy Development Advisor (UNAFRI)


  • Current craze for change of the name of the service from Prison to Prison Service then to Correctional

  • The negative connotation and disdain of ‘prison’.

  • The meaning- ‘as a place for those physically confined and deprived of their rights’.

  • Perceptions: individuals and the public

Introduction cont d
Introduction, cont’d

  • Yesterday Vs Today – African Corrections

  • Yesterday, offenders were managed without incarceration

  • Prisons-like places were mainly for holding purposes

  • They were for enhancing social harmony

  • It was compensation/ conciliation rather than punishment

  • Focus was on both offender and victims

  • Holding ‘imprisonment’ was the alternative to non custodial

  • **Today, focus is mainly on the offender

  • The non custodial are the alternatives**

Africans vs europeans
Africans Vs Europeans

  • Why the practice of incarceration for the 2 groups?

  • For colonised/Africans, it was a holding facility for compensation; while wrongdoing was rectified to get restitution rather than punishment

  • For colonialists/Europeans, it was to control and subdue potential rebellious natives; not for rehabilitation but for economic, political, religious and social subjugation, and means to justify cheap labour.

Phases of correctional
Phases of Correctional

  • Decarceration: no prisons, correcting within community

  • Incarceration: Prisons were a holding, restraining facility-knife Logic

  • Prisons became a punishment facility-Knife Logic

  • Prisons are now perceived as correctional facility-Needle Logic

    *** All to make communities safer***

Vision and mission of corrections
Vision and Mission of Corrections

  • * Vision

  • A correctional service for achieving a crime free Society

  • A Correctional Service of excellence in Africa & beyond

  • As the best provider of custodial and correctional practices

  • As the strongest agent of community protection

  • As the enabler of humane and secure society thru crime prevention

  • **As the nucleus of professional corrections in Africa and a front runner in the world. **


  • To promote human rights of prisons, and the public through provision of safe and humane custody

  • To contain offenders in human and safe conditions in order to facilitate responsible administration of justice

  • To promote criminal justice institutions’ reforms for a secure society

Mission cont d
Mission, cont’d

  • To enable community safety and security through mitigation of the role of offenders

  • To effectively and efficiently provide and maintain a humane custodial and correctional services to inmates.

  • **To pave way for best correctional practice in Africa and beyond.**

Orientations of the service s management
Orientations of the Service’s Management

  • Current orientation

    The Reactive Orientation

    Most international instruments only address the two below:

  • Concentration on the inmates:

    Numbers, Rights, Feeding, Welfare

  • Concentration on the infrastructure

    • Facilities, building, amenities

    • Early releases: Parole, probation , pardon, etc

      ####This is reactive#####

Expected orientation the proactive as a multi actor orientation
Expected Orientation: TheProactive as a multi-actor orientation

  • Concentration on the staff also

    • Welfare

    • Motivation

    • Participation

    • Image boosting

  • Attitudinal change-staff, inmates, public

Correcting outside the facility
Correcting outside the facility

  • Extension of the concept of Community Corrections to include Community mobilization as a multi-actor orientation approach: Judiciary, Parliament, Executive

    -Concentration on how to reduce prison congestion through preemptive prevention

    -Using the Not There Alternatives (NTA)

Correcting outside cont d
Correcting outside, cont’d

  • ** Some NTAs: **

  • Encouraging diversionary measures

  • Encouraging the African ‘restorative justice’ system

  • Encouraging out of court settlement

  • Encouraging community service

  • Be more open to public

Sensitization of magistrates and communities on
Sensitization of Magistrates and communities on

Community service sentencing option;

fines, acquittals, bails, parole and probation

Creation of mini courts in prisons

Allow inmates engage in political and civic activities

Crime prevention a proactivity
Crime Prevention: A Proactivity

  • Working closely with agencies of crime prevention e.g UNAFRI, UNODC etc

  • Working hard in the community to prevent re-offending/recidivism

  • Constructive engagement of the parliament for review of laws

  • * Borrow Maicibi’s generic formula for fighting crime**

Correctional Refinery

Crime Prevention Steam





Out of court


Community Service

  • Acquittals



    Parole and probation

Courts (Judiciary)


Maicibi generic formula for fighting crime
Maicibi generic formula for fighting Crime

B < C


B => Benefits

Mb - Monetary & economic benefits to the criminal

Pb – Psychological & physiological benefits to the criminal

Sb- Sociological benefits to the criminal

Ec- Ease & level of success in committing the crime

C => Costs

Mt –Monetary & time to commit the crime

Fa – Fear & probability of being apprehended & arrested

Pc – Probability of conviction & its harshness

Lo – Lost opportunities & stigmatization

Key: B Vs C

B > C : Mb+Pb+Sb+ Ec > Mt+Fa+Pc+Lo means that benefits outweigh the costs.

B<C : Mb+Pb+Sb+Ec < Mt+Fa+Pc+Lo means that costs outweigh the benefits

B>Chas a slim chance of deterring crave to commit crime

B<Chas a high chance of deterring crave to commit crime

**Target and strategy should be to increase the Cs and decrease the Bs.

Prisons facility tree
Prisons Facility Tree

Inability for proper containment



Army of remand inmates

Jail violence/riots

Inadequate programming

Poor service delivery


Court decisional delays

Recognition and Funding


The burden of prove

Neglect of restorative justice

Closed prisons’ system

Poor access to legal Aid




  • Thank you for being a wonderful audience

  • MaicibiAlhas(Ph D.)