"Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum"

Tanzania yet to implement new UN’s Nelson Mandela Rules on Prisons

By Kiangiosekazi wa Nyoka (Daily News Columnist and Board Member National Parole Board, Penal Reform International).

IT did not come to me as a surprise when the Arusha Member of Parliament, Godbless Lema came up with that statement of wishing a good number of Mps could be incarcerated so that they can become more aware of the bad prison laws which still exist in our statutes books.

And actually that was just a follow up of another member of parliament some few years back when she tested the life in a remand prison cell at Tabora had also to come up with serious complaints and allegations in the Parliament on how inhuman the life is in prisons.

In Zanzibar too, the Chief Justice of Zanzibar Omar Othman Makungu once paid a visit to some of the reformatory centres (prisons) in Zanzibar and came out with a feeling that was described by the press, “the hellish life in our crammed jails.

” That reminds us of the prisons in antiquity which was self –consciously punitive; their internal regimes were intentionally inhumane.

Imprisonment was part of the suffering intended to prisoners to pay back for the harm done by their crimes. It was very agonizing when the famous prisoner Mr. Nelson Mandela once said that “no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats highest citizens, but its lowest.”

Of late there have been a lot of suggestions coming from different quarters on improvement of the prison’s conditions! Several members of parliament in the past have made their voices on how to salvage the prison service which seems to receive a raw deal when it comes to financial resources.

It is disheartening to hear from government officials that prisons are not places for enjoyment but are of punishment. That does not auger well with the spirit of rehabilitation and social reintegration.

The prison environment is supposed to be conducive to a human habitation. It should be known that offenders are sent to prisons as a punishment and not for punishment and therefore prison environments must be safe and humane and as close as possible to conditions in the community.

Prison is that component of criminal justice system which has the greatest impact on the freedoms, liberties and rights of individuals. Therefore members of Prison Service involved in corrections must respect fundamental human rights in every aspect of their work and must be guided by a belief in fairness and equality under and before the law.

The punishment is awarded by the court of law by depriving offender’s freedom they enjoy by isolating them from their families to the prisons and is not a question of the prison authority to punish them again.

Suggesting that prison is not a place of enjoyment amounts to endorsing the prison authority to punish offenders and that would make President Mandela in his grave to remember his incarceration days which he has vowed not to remember! Why does it take so long to adopt the emerging new trends in our criminal justice system?

The UN Standard Minimum Rules are often regarded by states as the primary source of standards relating to treatment in detention, and are the key framework used by monitoring and inspection mechanisms in assessing the treatment of prisoners. But these have been revised and are known as Nelson Mandela Rules. Countries are encouraged to reflect the “Mandela Rules” in their national legislation so that prison administrators can apply them in their daily work.

Just recently the Minister for Home Affairs Mwigulu Nchemba cautioned the prison officials to crack the whip on prisoners who are still engaging in the criminal activities while in jail by communicating with colleagues outside the prison. Probably you might have heard the criminal terminology known as “prison subculture” very common to penologists.

This is necessitated by having obsolete correctional system faced with the emergence of prison gangs and new organized crimes. Such offenders prefer to be incarcerated as a way of furthering recruitment within the prisons of new willing prison radicalized offenders such as terrorist, pirates, religious fanatics and political deviants.

These prison gangs share common values, norms, beliefs and customs with their own formulated inmate code and they are criminal organizations that originate within the penal system operating within correctional facilities. They are also self-perpetuating criminal entities that can continue their criminal operations outside the confines of the penal system

. It is a prerequisite to have an effective parole system that can monitor and support the released offender on parole through gradual controlled release to half way houses. In developed countries also now evidenced in our country, gangs commit criminal activities, recruit new members in urban, suburban, and rural regions across and develop criminal associations that expand their influence over criminals.

The most notable trends is the current “boda boda” criminals with unprecedented solidarity. The overall increase in gang membership and the expansion of criminal street gangs control of street-level drug sales and collaboration with other criminal organizations.

Gangs are becoming more violent while engaging in less typical and lower-risk crime, such as prostitution and white-collar crime. Gangs are more adaptable, organized, sophisticated, and opportunistic, exploiting new and advanced technology as a means to recruit, communicate discretely, target their rivals, and perpetuate their criminal activity.

The indicators are already flushing red. These include the presence of drugs in our country, the new advanced technology, reliable communication system, cell-phones, bodaboda; all these if not well managed can be catalysts to the speeding of prison gangs mushrooming in our prisons.

The introduction of unit management in prisons would go a long way in managing the emerging of prison gangs that may escalate the sophistry in commission of crimes.

The prison gangs, prison radicalization are imports which come together with the new technology as such should be dealt with the same technology embraced in the new Correctional Philosophy of Risk Assessment and Management.

Source: Daily News Tanzania.

Seven foreigners in court for defrauding TCRA of 459m/-

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

EVEN foreigners appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam, yesterday, charged with several counts relating to fraudulent use of communication network and occasioning loss of 459m/- to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) and the government.

They are: Dilshad Ahmed (36), Rohail Yaqoob (47), Khalid Mahmood (59), Ashfaq Ahmed (38), Muhamad Aneess (48), Imtiaz Ammar (33), who are Pakistan nationals and Ramesh Kandasamy (36) from Sri-Lanka.

They were not allowed to enter plea to the charges before Principal Resident Magistrate Wilbard Mashauri, as they are facing economic charges.

The magistrate ordered them to remain in remand as his court lacked jurisdiction to termine any bail application. He directed the accused persons to the Economic, Corruption and Organised Crime High Court’s Division to seek bail if they so wished.

Magistrate Mashauri adjourned the case to March 19, for mention, as investigations into the matter, according to the prosecution, have not been completed.

Other counts include conspiracy to commit offences, importation and installation of electronic communication equipment without a licence, use of unapproved electronic equipment and operating electronic communications without a licence and conspiracy to commit an offence.

The prosecution led by Senior State Attorneys Nassoro Katuga and Johanes Karungura, an attorney from TCRA, alleged that on or before November 2016, within the City of Dar es Salaam, all accused persons conspired to commit an offence of fraudulently using network facilities.

Source: Daily News.

House of Lords backs landmark Brexit bill

The House of Lords has passed the Brexit bill, paving the way for the government to trigger Article 50 so the UK can leave the EU. 

Peers backed down over the issues of EU residency rights and a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal after their objections were overturned by MPs. The bill is expected to receive Royal Assent and become law on Tuesday. 

The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg said this would leave Theresa May free to push the button on withdrawal talks. The prime minister could theoretically invoke Article 50, which formally starts the Brexit process, as early as Tuesday. 

However, Downing Street sources have said this will not happen this week and the PM is expected to wait until the end of the month to officially notify the EU of the UK's intention to leave, thus beginning what is expected to be a two-year process. "Parliament has today backed the government in its determination to get on with the job of leaving the EU," Brexit Secretary David Davis said. "We are now on the threshold of the most important negotiation for our country in a generation." 

The EU Withdrawal Bill was passed unamended after peers voted by 274 votes to 118 not to challenge the Commons again over the issue of whether Parliament should have a veto on the terms of exit.

The House of Lords had already agreed not to reinsert guarantees over the status of EU residents in the UK back into the bill after they were rejected by MPs, with the government winning the vote by a margin of 274 votes to 135. 

Earlier, the government had comfortably won votes on the issues in the Commons, with only a handful of Tory MPs rebelling. 

Brexit campaigners welcomed the "clear mandate" given to the UK government ahead of the start of official negotiations. "Now, it's time to go into these negotiations with some ambition and support the government, so it can secure the very best deal - one that is good for the whole UK, and good for the EU too," said Tory MP and former minister Dominic Raab. 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the rejection of the Lords amendments was "deeply disappointing" but insisted the opposition would continue to press for the rights of EU nationals to be prioritised and for the maximum parliamentary oversight of the process. He tweeted: "Labour at every stage will challenge govt plans for a bargain basement Brexit with our alternative that puts jobs & living standards first."

Source: BBC News

UN expert calls for monitoring of traditional healers to protect people with albinism

[JURIST] Ikponwosa Ero, the UN's first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, called Friday for the "enhanced oversight" of traditional healers to ensure that they do not use the body parts of people with albinism in rituals. According to the report, 600 people with albinism have been attacked in 27 different countries because some healers believe their body parts will bring wealth and good luck. Ero said, "The issue is further complicated by the lack of effective oversight over the practice of traditional healers, the secrecy that often surrounds witchcraft rituals and the absence of clear national policies on the issue." Ero recommends a two-pronged approach, where countries "urgently" deal with the physical attacks and trafficking of body parts while at the same time educating those without albinism about the myths surrounding the condition.

The treatment of people with albinism in Africa has been a highly contested human rights issue for many years. In October a UN report called for action to end violence against people with albinism. In September Ero expressed ongoing concerns for the safety of people with albinism in Mozambique, while at the same time recognising that the nation had taken successful steps to improve conditions. In March Ero noted the increasing violence against people with albinism triggered by fallacious "witchcraft" beliefs. Last year the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) launched a website aimed at disproving the myths of albinism. In 2014 the OHCHR said that the Tanzanian government's system of placing children with albinism in government care centres does not provide this vulnerable group with adequate protection from those who target them.

Source: jurist.org


By Jaba T. Shadrack, Assistant Lecturer in Law,
UDSM – School of Law, Tanzania.
       1.      Introduction

Individuals are sentenced to a period of imprisonment following a process which involves investigation of an offence and detection, prosecution, trial, conviction and, finally, sentence. The essence of imprisonment is deprivation of one of the most cherished features of human life, individual liberty. In those countries which have abolished the death penalty and corporal punishment, imprisonment becomes the most severe sanction which the court can impose on a convicted offender.

Notably, depriving people of their liberty is a negative act and for that reason, imprisonment is often described as a punishment of last resort, one which should only be imposed by a court of law when there is no other appropriate punishment.

      2.       Prison, Jail, Judicial Custody and Lock-up: Definitions
Etymologically, the word prison comes from the Latin word meaning to seize. The place itself is defined as a building to which people are legally committed for custody while awaiting trial or punishment.  

Under Tanzanian penal law, the word "prison" is used to mean;

A place of confinement of:
·         those convicted in courts of law, or
·         remanded in custody pending trial, and
·         those detained under the Preventative Detention Act 1962. 

As opposed to a prison, “a jail” is a building designated or regularly used for the confinement of individuals who are sentenced for minor crimes or who are unable to gain release on bail and are in custody awaiting trial. On the other hand a Lock-up is a police custody or detention facility or a jail, especially a temporary one. A difference has also been made between a police custody (Lock-up) and judicial custody, in that police custody is an immediate physical custody by the police of a person who committed a crime, while a judicial custody is ascribed by a judge or the court itself. The custody is ordered by the judge, depending on the circumstances of the case. The custody can be awarded because the judge refused bail, the suspect earned the citation of contempt of court, and many other circumstances.

      3.      Types of prison and prisoners
Prisons may be categorized as Public and Private Prisons. Basically, public prisons are incarceration facilities owned, run and funded by the government, while private prisons are facilities owned and run by private individuals (privatised prisons) but under the aegis of the government. Other categories include; Military prisons and Civilian Prisons; Prison Hospitals (e.g. Mirembe Hospital, and Isanga Prison Hospital in Dodoma) and rehabilitation centres; Women's prisons and Men’s Prisons; and Adult Prisons and Youth detention facilities.
On the other hand, the word "prisoners" refers to all persons legally held in prison custody whether convicted or not. These include:

(a) Remand Prisoners: Unconvicted persons who must be produced before a court of law within a period of 24 hours of such arrest. No such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of the court, otherwise a writ of habeas corpus may be issued against the detaining authority.

(b) Convicts: These include any convicted persons under sentence of court, a court martial or a special tribunal and those detained in prison under Section 57 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

(c) Civil Prisoners: These include a debtor, any person ordered to be detained in custody under the provisions of the Mental Disease Ordinance or a detainee under the Preventative Detention Act, 1962.

(d) Prisoners-of-war: these are persons, whether combatants or non-combatants, held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict.

     4.      Why prison and Imprisonment?

Generally, there are four (4) main reasons for sending convicts to prisons;

·         Punishment
The first given purpose of imprisonment is to punish persons for the crime they have committed. The argument in this case is that some crimes are so serious that the only appropriate disposal is to punish the offender by taking away their liberty.

·         Deterrence
If a person who is tempted to commit a crime knows that the result is likely to be a period of imprisonment, then that will be enough to deter that person from committing a crime. The greater the punishment, the greater the deterrent.

·         Reform/rehabilitation
The notion that prison can be a place where individuals can be taught to change their behaviour is attractive on a number of counts. In the first place, it provides a positive justification for what would be an otherwise negative form of punishment of the criminal. The notion of prison as a place where personal reform can be engineered and encouraged is also attractive to those public spirited men and women who work in prisons and who wish to do more professionally than merely deprive prisoners of their liberty.

·         Public protection
Another stated purpose of imprisonment is to protect the public from those who commit crime, particularly in a persistent way. ‘Prison works’, so the argument goes, because during the time that offenders are in prison they are prevented from committing other crimes. The argument is known as incapacitation. In some respects this argument is valid, particularly in respect of specific neighbourhoods where a significant proportion of crime is being committed by identifiable individuals.

       5.      Prison: Historical Background

In its present form, the prison is a relatively modern invention, having been in existence for less than 300 years. A number of scholars suggest that the modern prison is a product of the 18th century enlightenment. It has its roots in the North-east of the US and in Western Europe and has subsequently spread around the world, often in the wake of colonial expansion.
Prisons as places of detention, where people waited to be tried, until a fine or debt was paid or until another court disposal was implemented have existed for many centuries. But the use of prison as a direct disposal of the court to any significant extent can be dated to a relatively recent period. 

        A.    Emergence of Prisons in Europe, Middle East and America

Roth, M.P. (2005) Prisons and Prison Systems: A Global Encyclopedia, pp. xxv- xxix

·         Early prisons were rarely built expressly for the purpose of imprisonment
·      Most cultures resorted to makeshift cages or dungeons to confine prisoners in existing structures.
·         Imprisonment played a minor role in the punishment regimes of most countries before the 19th century.
·         Some of the world's most famous buildings, including The Kremlin and the Tower of London, have been used as prisons over the centuries.
·         References to early prisons can be found in a number of ancient cultures. Several thousand years ago the Babylonians utilised places of incarceration, or bit kili, for debtors and petty criminals, as well as for convicts who were either slaves or foreigners.
·         Classical Greece and Rome sporadically used a private prison, or Carcer privatus, to detain debtors and individuals awaiting trial or execution. Ancient Athens had a prison called the desmoterion, or "the place of chains."
·         Rome's Twelve Tables refers to a place of forced detention called the ergastalum.
·         By the sixth century the Latin term carcer was used to refer to penitential confinement, and in the Middle Ages carceres were the special rooms monasteries dedicated for "delinquent clergy."
·         The Old Testament reports the use of imprisonment by Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, and Israelites.
·         Jerusalem had at least three prisons at the time of Nebuchadnezzar, including Beth ha-keli, or "house of detention", Beth haasourim, literally "house of chains"; and Bor, which was little more than an underground cistern.
·         No word conjures up the worst aspects of imprisonment more than dungeon. Derived from the Latin term domgio, referring to a precipice where a castle or fortress is built,
·         The French adopted the term donjon, from which the more familiar English version, dungeon, was derived.
·         Over time dungeon became synonymous for the inner sanctums and places of confinement in towers and castles built at high elevations.
·         One of the earliest examples of subterranean chambers for prisoners was Mamertine Prison built in Rome in 64 B.C.E.
·         Early English jails can be found at least as far back as 1166 when King Henry II required that each sheriff establish a county jail in his shire.
·         A number of towns used formidable gatehouse prisons located near the city gates. Except for nomenclature there was little distinction between jails, prisons, and other places of confinement until the eighteenth century.
·         The original functions of prisons varied little. Most held individuals awaiting trial or punishment after adjudication. If the guilty did not die from whatever sentence awaited them, they were released and their debts to society were completed. Between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries pre-existing structures such as tower keeps, cellars, and dungeons held prisoners in various locations.
·         According to one historian, early European hospitals, or lazarettos, provided the inspiration for modern "purpose-built" prison designs.
·         In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries England opened a number of houses of correction known as Bridewells.
·         The Parliament ruled that every county should open one of these institutions to hold indigents and vagrants while inculcating them with the appropriate work ethic.
·         In these facilities petty criminals and transient types were introduced to a number of tasks that could help support the institution, such as baking and milling.
·         By the late 1500s Bridewells offered training and apprenticeships to poor freemen and women and to street children that included 25 different occupations.
·         Amsterdam contributed its version of the house of correction, the rasphouse, in the sixteenth century as well.
·  Sheriffs in medieval London utilised gaols (jails) known as compters to incarcerate misdemeanants such as debtors, drunks, and vagrants.
·         Like other holding facilities of the era these institutions earned an unsavoury reputation for charging prisoners fees for even their most basic needs.
·         An important step in the development of the prison was the use of cellular confinement. Some of the earliest examples of this were located in what is now Italy.
·         In 1677 the Hospice of San Filippo was operating near Florence. One criminologist has described this institution as the "first practical attempt" to use 24-hour segregation "for the avowed purpose of correction and reformation."
·         Others have credited the San Michele Hospice in Rome as being the inspiration for cellular confinement.
·         Another major step in prison innovation was the rebuilding of the original house of correction in Ghent (Holland) in the 1770s, replete with separate cells for prisoners.
·         By adopting the regime made famous at Rome's San Michele Hospice and later by the Auburn system, prisoners were housed in a congregate setting by day and slept in separate cells at night.
·         When transportation of British convicts to the American colonies was abruptly interrupted in 1775, Britain's overcrowded prisons forced authorities to look for alternative detention facilities.
·         Penurious administrators turned to derelict warships and merchant vessels, or convict hulks, to confine prisoners.
·         Great Britain was not the only country to experiment with penal colonies. France's Devil's Island was probably the best known.
·         Operating the facility between 1852 and 1946, France adopted penal transportation just as Britain abandoned it in Australia. Islands have proven to be popular with prison planners.
·         From Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island to the world's largest island, Australia, to America's Alcatraz, France's Devil's Island, and Italy's Lipari Island, the planet's oceans have an enviable record for providing the ultimate in correctional security.
·         Following the American Civil War the former Southern states, as well as several others, turned to convict leasing to make up for the dearth of prison facilities and lack of financial resources.
·         Like so many other experiments in penology chain gangs have gone in and out of fashion in the United States.
·         Societies have used forced labor at least as far back as fifth-century B.C. Greece, when state-owned slaves were leased out to private mining operators.
·         Convict labor was used during the Roman Empire and into the Middle Ages. But not until the age of the modern penitentiary did the convict-leasing system find an environment in which it could prosper. Nowhere was this truer than in the United States.
·         Although colonial jails forced prisoners to work, not until the opening of Philadelphia's Walnut Street Jail in 1790 was prison labor placed at the disposal of outside contractors. In the post-Civil War American South the convict-leasing system was the result of a paucity of funding from the shattered Confederate states. Convict leasing diminished in popularity in the twentieth century, particularly in America, as a result of the growing clout of labor unions, who saw convict leasing as unfair business competition in a world of free labor.
·         England's John Howard was probably history's best known prison reformer. In homage to Howard, prison reform societies have been named after him, and various reformers have been referred to as the John Howard of their respective countries: America's John Howard was Thomas Eddy, and the Prussian physician Nicolaus Julius was accorded the moniker the "German John Howard," for example.
·         In the early years of the nineteenth century the United States took the lead in creating the modern prison. American prison reformers championed two prison models. New York established the Auburn system, sometimes referred to as the congregate model.
·         It allowed convicts to work in a congregate setting with other inmates by day but isolated them in individual cells at night.
·         The Pennsylvania system, in contrast, became known as the solitary system for its forced separation of prisoners "24/7" for their entire prison term.
·         It was hoped that the Quaker inspired Pennsylvania system would allow prisoners to reflect on their lives and at the same time learn the value of discipline and proper work habits.
·         According to one early reformer, "The Quakers took up the cause of prison reform and made a religion of it." Most prison systems favored the Auburn system because it was cheaper to operate and its use of congregate labor made it more financially productive than the competing Pennsylvania system.
·         Except for Pennsylvania and New Jersey's Trenton State Prison, all American prisons built in the nineteenth century adopted the Auburn model.
·         However, the legacy of the Pennsylvania system was more pronounced in Europe and South America, where a number of prisons were built on this model.
·         Worldwide, almost 300 prisons were inspired by Eastern State Penitentiary's radial design.
·         A handful of other noteworthy prison designs emerged during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
·         Never as popular as the Auburn and Pennsylvania systems, the circular or semicircular Panopticon devised by Jeremy Bentham was copied by several countries and the United States.
·         Although it allowed the continual observance of inmates, its unpopularity was in part a consequence of its waste of space as well as the prisoners' ability to easily follow the movements of guards.
·         Before the twentieth century a number of prisons employed "make-work" strategies to keep prisoners busy. Sometimes work was constructive and provided income for the prison facility; at other times the tasks was unconstructive and purely punitive.
·         Great Britain introduced a number of such strategies, including the treadmill, the crank, and oakum picking.
·         These tedious tasks were designed to "grind men good."
·         Amsterdam, however, pioneered the use of such practices as early as the sixteenth century through the use of rasping. In so called rasphouses, a type of workhouse, inmates were kept busy rasping or sawing up to 25 pounds of sawdust per day per inmate to produce powder for coloring merchandise.
·         This could take between 10 and 15 hours per day, equivalent to the average workday in the free world at that time.
·         Reformers such as John Howard saw rasping and other mind-numbing tasks combined with a heavy dose of religion as an effective avenue to reform.
·         In the minds of the prison keepers hard labor helped rehabilitate inmates and at the same time enabled institutions such as houses of detention to remain self-sufficient.

The emergence of the modern prison in the nineteenth century
·         It was to a great extent an outcome of the growing sentiment against punishments of the day—brutal floggings, hangings, mutilations, and the like.
·         A major step in the creation of modern prison systems was the formation of the National Prison Congress in 1870.
·         International prison congresses on prison reform had been convened in Europe almost 25 years earlier, but little was achieved until the meeting held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1870.
·         More than 130 delegates, including judges, wardens, prison chaplains, and governors, met and unanimously adopted a Declaration of Principles, which included increased emphasis on rehabilitation, education, religion, training, and most important, pushed for the widespread adoption of indeterminate sentencing and the end of political patronage.
·         The development of prisons and prison systems in the modern era has been fraught with experimentation.
·         Many of these experiments have been undertaken by the prison-oriented American criminal justice system.
·         For example, in the early nineteenth century Thomas Mott Osborne inaugurated the Mutual Welfare League at Auburn Prison, an "anti-institutional" approach that experimented with offering prisoners the opportunity to achieve a modicum of self-respect by removing the constraints of the silent system.
·         Great Britain embarked on the Q Camp Experiment in the prewar 1930s, which like the Mutual Welfare League, hinged on democratic incarceration and shared responsibility.
·         In the 1980s and 1990s shock incarceration centers, better known as boot camps, were seen as a panacea for the growing juvenile crime rate.
·         Demonstrating the cyclical nature of prison reform, the boot camp regimen had much in common with reformer Zebulon Brockway's attempts to combine education, athletics, and military discipline as a pathway to reform.
·         As with many other "get-tough" initiatives, there is little evidence that boot camps had much impact on recidivism.
·         Beginning in the early 1900s Great Britain experimented with detention centers for youthful offenders known as Borstals, named after the village where the first one was located. Several studies have suggested that the Borstals and boot camps often resulted in high recidivism rates for their graduates.
·         More countries have found better success through diversion of juveniles into non-custodial adjudication.
·         The twentieth century ushered in a new era in prisons and prison systems.
·         It saw not only the closing of Devil's Island and the inauguration of the prison big house movement in America but also the creation of enormous work camps and the Soviet Gulag.
·         By the 1980s the Soviet Union was sentencing 99 percent of its convicted criminals to these labor camps.
·         The new century also witnessed the flowering of alternatives to cellular confinement, once the great panacea.
·         Probation and parole became standard alternatives, as did work release and the suspended sentence. Beginning in the late 1980s super maximum prisons revived some of the most discredited strategies of earlier prison regimes.
·         It was hoped that keeping prisoners in their cells 24/7 and making communal dining rooms and exercise yards redundant would keep prisoners and staff safer.

         B.     Prisons in Africa: Colonial Legacy

Sarkin, J. (2008) Prisons in Africa: An Evaluation from a Human Rights Perspective, pp.24 & 25

·         Prison is not an institution indigenous to Africa.
·         Incarceration as punishment was unknown to Africa when the first Europeans arrived.
·         It is a holdover from colonial times, a European import designed to isolate and punish political opponents, exercise racial superiority, and notably as a means by which to subjugate and punish those who resisted colonial authority. 
·         Imprisonment and capital punishment were viewed as last resorts within the traditional African justice systems, to be used only when perpetrators such as repeat offenders and witches posed discreet risks to local communities.
·         While imprisonment as punishment did not take root in Africa until the late 1800s, there were two exceptions to this characterisation. First, prisons were used in connection with the Atlantic Slave Trade. Second, Southern African nations began to rely upon imprisonment much earlier than the rest of the continent, in some cases as early as the beginning of the 19th century.
·         Even when the colonial powers arrived in Europe, they utilised imprisonment not as a means by which to punish the commission of common crimes but rather to control and exploit potentially rebellious local populations.
·         Therefore, Africa’s earliest experience with formal prisons was not with an eye toward the rehabilitation or reintegration of criminals but rather the economic, political, and social subjugation of indigenous peoples.
·         It was in these early prisons that even minor offenders were subjected to brutal confinement and conscripted as sources of cheap labour.
·         White prisoners, unlike their black counterparts, enjoyed higher quality clothing, food, and shelter, as well as vocational training aimed at preparing them for release, rehabilitation, and reintegration.
·         Additionally, while European prisons phased out torture in the late 1800s, colonial prisons increasingly relied upon the practice as a means of suppressing indigenous peoples and reinforcing racist dogma.
·         Torture and capital punishment were legitimised among Europeans by the characterization of Africans as uncivilised, infantile, and savage.

Generally, with respect to prison reforms in post-colonial Africa, Sarkin, J. (2008) argue that;

“…despite the connection of prison brutality to the racist and colonial policies of the late 1800s, penal oppression persists at an alarming rate and appalling depth in post-colonial Africa. Moreover, attendant issues such as underdevelopment, dependence on foreign aid, political oppression, and human degradation continue to plague the continent despite the decades-old withdrawal of colonial powers. Within prisons, overcrowding, failing infrastructure, corporal and capital punishment, corruption, extended pretrial detention, gang culture, and inadequate attention to women and youth evince a startling lack of reversal notwithstanding the departure of Africa’s penal architects over 40 years ago….”

      C.    Prisons in Mainland Tanzania

Williams, D. (1980) The Role of Prisons in Tanzania: An Historical Perspective, pp. 27-37.

·         The Tanzania Prisons Service was officially established as a fully-fledged Government Department on 25th August, 1931.
·         Prior to that date, the Service was administered under the Police Force. (MOHA Website, 2012).

Germany period:

·         The Criminal Code of the German Empire provided for various forms of imprisonment - viz., penal internment, confinement, military detention and detention.
·         The major preoccupation of instructions by the Imperial Chancellor regarding criminal jurisdiction and disciplinary authority in respect to natives was concerned with corporal punishment.
·         The German colonialists fairly evidently viewed imprisonment to be a severe use of coercive violence so that their "civilizing" rule should prevail.

British period:

·         The legal basis for the prison system operating in Tanganyika at the date of political independence, however, may be traced to the Police and Prisons Proclamation 1919 and the Prisons Ordinance 1921.
·         These were the legal instruments by which the British established their prison system for the territory which had been "mandated" to them by the Treaty of Versailles.
·         The nature of the Prisons Service may be gathered from a brief analysis of the more salient provisions of the 1921 Ordinance.
·         The racist and hierarchical pattern of colonial rule may be gleaned from sections 6-8 whereby prison officers are ranked in order.
·         There was the Commissioner, responsible for the administration of prisons throughout the territory, and Superintendents vested with administration of each prison.
·         Under them were first class and second class European jailers, then came Asiatic and native subordinate officers, followed by first, second and third grade chief warders, and further down to first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade warders. Last, and no doubt least, were Wardresses.

Prison standards under the British Regime:

·         Separation of various categories of prisoners was required, male from female prisoners, European prisoners from non-Europeans where possible, and so also with the separation in accommodation of male prisoners under 16 years of age, unconvicted criminal prisoners and civil prisoners.
·         Prisoners were allowed to receive a visit from friends only once in every 3 months. A remission system was established whereby longer term prisoners "by industry and good conduct, may, after the completion of six months' imprisonment, earn a remission of one-seventh of the remaining period of their sentence."
·         Punishments for misconduct while a prisoner included; loss of remission, solitary confinement, penal diet, hard labor and, in very serious cases in respect to male convicted prisoners, corporal punishment.
·         A massive number of prison offenses are declared, forty-two in all, including such heinous acts as omitting to march in file when moving about the prison, refusing to eat the food prescribed by the prison diet scale, committing a nuisance, spitting on any floor, cursing, swearing or making unnecessary noise, malingering and so on and so forth.
·         In addition to the Prisons Ordinance, there was subsidiary legislation known as the Prisons Regulations.
·         The regulations set out in some detail how prisons were to be administered throughout the territory.
·         In 1933, there was a consolidation and amendment of the Prisons Ordinance which retained this basic framework, although with some modifications.
·         For instance, under section 89, a visit from friends was to be allowed once in every month, and in section l00, the remission system became more generous, a remission of % of the sentence remaining after the completion of one month.
·         The term "European jailer" was removed. Otherwise the prison system remained much as it was established, and it continued to run along the lines required by the 1933 Ordinance until 1967.


·         The administration of prisons in Zanzibar was more or less exactly the same as for Tanganyika.
·         The constitutional position differed considerably so that it was the British Resident rather than the Governor who established prisons, and His Highness the Sultan in Executive Council played a role in issuing Decrees and subsidiary legislation.
·         However, the Prisons Decree 1933, which regulated Zanzibar's prisons until 1972 was, to all intents and purposes, in pari materia with Tanganyika's Ordinance of the same year.

Tanzania: After independence:

·         A new policy to govern prison administration was evolved.
·         The reformulated policy was set out by the first African Commissioner of Prisons, O.K. Rugimbana.
·         The task of the Prison Administration was therefore to evolve a new policy consistent with civilized thinking, to make it serve not only a punitive purpose but essentially a reformative one, capable of assisting the unfortunate incumbents with the mental aptitude and know-how for future rehabilitation.
·         Within such a framework, a policy of deploying prison labor on a nation-building and revenue-earning footing had to be evolved. The basic feature of the new policy was to deploy every available convicted prisoner on productive labor.
·         Yet it is quite remarkable that the Prisons Act 1967 bears all the hallmarks of being a consolidation of the Prisons Ordinance 1933 and its amendments.
·         Substantive amendments are few and far between; the only one worth noting here is section 61 which replaces the section on prison labor in the now-repealed Ordinance.

·         This section reflects the adoption of reformation theory and it reads:
"Every prisoner sentenced to imprisonment and detained in prison shall, subject to the provisions of this Act and subject also to any special order of the court, be employed, trained and treated, whether he is in or is not within the precincts of any prison, in such a manner as the Commissioner may determine, and for that purpose such prisoner shall, at all times, perform such labour, tasks and other duties as may be assigned to him by the officer-in-charge or any other prison officer in whose charge he may be."

·         This change, however, did not result in much improvement of prisons conditions as the emphasis remained on safe custody.
·         The incarceration of inmates in maximum security institutions built in major towns and district centers, hard labour and racial segregation in their treatment was a significant feature of the prisons reality.
·         This prisons policy was reflective of its philosophical basis of retribution and incapacitation that prevailed all though the German colonial era ending 1919 and the British protectorate era ending with independence in 1961.

In Zanzibar:

·         There has been a distinctly different line of development, even though Zanzibar and Tanganyika joined to form the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964.
·         The Prisons Decree 1933 was repealed by the Offenders Education Decree 1972 which purported to abolish prisons completely and to establish in their stead a Development Institute for the Education of Offenders.

Early 1970s to date:
(see, MOHA Website, 2012).

A new prisons policy was adopted embracing humane treatment of offenders and justice as its core value. The objective was rehabilitation of offenders as a contribution to community safety. In practice, this philosophical shift was manifested by:-

·         Introduction of a new legislation, the Prisons Act, 1967 which embodies the spirit of international basic human rights instruments;
·        Establishment of several Open farm Prisons in the rural areas which were designated to be centers of excellence for imparting agricultural skills to inmates and to extend such services to surrounding communities ;
·         Establishment of Vocational Training Centres in Mbeya and Morogoro regions for skills-training to inmates. These were linked to the National Vocational Education and Training Authority so that certification of graduates is universally recognised ;
·         Expansion of economic projects inside the inherited closed prisons for skills-training for long term prisoners ;
·         Establishment of educational programmes of different levels in prisons including adult basic education, general academic subjects and primary school education for school drop-outs at the Young Offenders' Prison ; and
·         Adoption of a new training curriculum for prisons staff in line with the new approach whereby observance of human rights was emphasised.
·         With these new developments, prisons condition began to pick up a more humane face and the image of the TPS was very much enhanced both within and outside the country as of the early 1970s.

6.      Tanzania Prison Service Department: Administrative Set-up
The Commissioner of Prisons is the administrative head of the service and the head of each prison is appointed by him. Officers in charge of prisons are in turn assisted by the necessary custodian staff, medical officers and educational staff and religious representatives of the different faiths. Currently, the TPS consists of 122 institutions, 21 regional offices, two staff training centers, four Vocational Training Facilities and Head Office. The regional offices provide administrative oversight, while the head office effect management and administration of all prisons stations countrywide. (MOHA, 2012).

The role of the prison officer (and the Prison Department)

·         To guard prisoners in such a way as to prevent them from escaping and to ensure that they behaved in an orderly fashion throughout the course of their imprisonment.
·         Carrying out security checks and searching procedures supervising prisoners,
·         keeping account of prisoners in your charge and maintaining order,
·         Employing authorised physical control and restraint procedures where appropriate,
·         Taking care of prisoners and their property, taking account of their rights and dignity
·         Providing appropriate care and support for prisoners at risk of self-harm
·         Promoting anti-bullying and suicide prevention policies
·         Taking an active part in rehabilitation programmes for prisoners
·         Assessing and advising prisoners, using your own experiences and integrity
·         Writing fair and perceptive reports on prisoners. (Coyle, A., 2005).

        7.     Relevant laws

(see, MOHA, 2012).

The Constitution of United Republic of Tanzania (1977); the Prisons Act, No. 34 (1967); the Prisons (Extra Mural Employment) Regulations (1968); the Prisons (Prison Offences) Regulations (1968); the Prisons (Prison Management) Regulations (1968); the Prison (Restraint of Prisoners Regulations (1968); the Parole Boards Act (1994); the Parole Boards Regulations (1997); the Transfer of Prisoners Act (2004); The Penal Code (Cap. 16); The National Defence Act (1966); the Transfer of Prisoners Regulations (2004); the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance Act (2001); the Police Force and Prisons Service Commission Act (1990); the Law of the Child Act (2009); the Children and Young Persons (Approved School) Annual Holiday) Rules (1945); the Probation of Offenders Act (RE 2002); the Refugees Act (1998); the Probation of Offenders Proclamations (1950 – 1961); the Minimum Sentences Act (1972); the Community Service Regulations (2002); the Prisons Service Regulations (1997); the Public Service Act (2002); Prison Standing Orders (4th Edn., 2003)[1]; the National Prosecutions Service Act (2008); and Criminal Procedure Act (RE 2009). 

Coyle, A. (2005) Understanding Prisons: Key issues in Policy and Practice, pp. 22 & 23.

UN conventions which are relevant to the treatment of people deprived of their liberty include:-

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1966) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979). The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the General Assembly in 1966 and came into force in 1976. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1948, and the Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949.

The general principles which are contained in the covenants and conventions mentioned above are covered (in more details) in a number of international instruments which refer specifically to prisoners. These include:- 

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1957), the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (1988), the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners (1990), and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (1985). There are also a number of United Nations instruments which refer specifically to staff working with people who have been deprived of their liberty. They include the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (1979) and the Principles of Medical Ethics Relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, Particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (1982). All of these documents are crucial to any understanding of the principles which should apply to the current practice of imprisonment.

       8.      Gender dimensions in Prisons

Coyle, A. (2005) Understanding Prisons: Key issues in Policy and Practice, pp. 66 & 67.

Given the ratio of male to female prisoners, it is understandable that the prison system is organized from a male perspective. It is important to be aware that in the real world of the prison this has specific consequences, usually disadvantageous, for the relatively small number of prisoners who are women. A report by the Fawcett Society (2004) illustrated the extent to which the prison system is designed to contain male offenders, with the result that the problems of women are not adequately addressed. This stereotyping aspect is highly attributed to the fact that;

·         The majority of prisoners are men,
·         The majority of prison staff are men, and
·         The regulations about how prisoners are to be treated are drawn up with male prisoners in mind.

         9.      Criminogenic Effects of Incarceration  

Pritikin, M.H. (2008) Is Prison Increasing Crime? pp. 1049-1108.

The means by which imprisonment may cause crime are numerous and varied. Such effect may relate to the experience of incarceration, or as post-incarceration consequences, or affect people other than the incarcerated offender himself. Some of these effects are; 

·         Loss of liberty: Restrictions on Political Rights, e.g. right to vote, freedom of movement and etc.
In most cases, convicts or former convicts are at least temporarily or permanently deprived of various political rights, including the rights to vote, be elected to public office, and serve as court officials.

·         Prison as a “School” for Criminals
While in prison, offenders learn from older or more experienced inmates how to commit crimes and avoid detection more effectively. Besides, inmates not only learn the technical know-how of criminality, but also internalise the norms of the prison’s antisocial subculture.

·          Psychological effects (Coping theory):
These includes; delusions, depression, apathy, stress, denial, phobia, nightmares and inability to sleep, self-destructive behaviour (substance abuse), diminished sense of self-worth and personal value, anxiety and etc.

·         Suicidal tendencies in prisons:
Essentially, prison inmates have higher suicide rates than their community counterparts due to stressful prison’s life.  

·         Severance of Family and Community ties/ weakening of social bonds with family and community:
The central issue here is whether the former inmate has a family relationship to which he can return. Notably, geographical distance, security restrictions, and other logistical considerations of incarceration disrupt connections between inmates and their families, they may make it more difficult for offenders to reintegrate upon release and avoid prior criminal patterns.

·         Deprivation of heterosexual relationships/ Denial of Conjugal Rights leading to homosexuality, and sexual assaults in prisons:
The deprivation of heterosexual relationships carries with it another threat to the prisoner's image of himself- more diffuse, perhaps, and more difficult to state precisely and yet no less disturbing. The inmate is shut off from the world of women which by its very polarity gives the male world much of its meaning. Like most men, the inmate must search for his identity not simply within himself but also in the picture of himself which he finds reflected in the eyes of others

·         Brutalising effect of Prisons:
Violence against inmates by guards has always been an aspect of prison life to a greater or lesser degree. Brutalisation of an inmate by a guard may destroy his sense of person-hood or make him resent the state and its systems of authority. Either psychological mechanism could aggravate the inmate’s sense of belonging outside of society, and reduce his willingness or ability to conform to its norms. Violence committed against inmates by other inmates may similarly destroy the victim’s sense of self-worth and make him resent the system that failed to protect him. Even the mere threat of violence that pervades prisons can cause inmates to become hardened as a self- defence mechanism; they may associate with gangs or other violent groups in an effort to protect themselves. And to the extent that inmates victimise other inmates, the very act of brutalising others may tend to harden them. Any or all of these effects may tend to make criminals more hostile, violent, and socially maladjusted when they are released.

·         Overcrowding and lack of individualised treatment, thus leading to recidivism:
Prison overcrowding can lead to less careful classification, monitoring, and managing of inmates with psychological problems or who otherwise pose a threat of violence to other inmates. Basically, overcrowded and poorly regulated prisons tend to have higher rates of rape and sexual violence. The adverse effects of overcrowding appear to be magnified for younger inmates, perhaps because of their increased volatility and sensitivity to their surroundings. Overcrowding also often means fewer resources available to each inmate, which can increase uncertainty, frustration, and conflict with other inmates.

·         Solitary Confinement
The increased stress of this extreme isolation and confinement may impair inmates’ mental health, which in turn may cause them to commit more violent acts, either within prison or upon release.

·         Reactance
Brehm (1966) declared that people have a need for freedom. The need for freedom is activated whenever people feel a restriction put upon their actions or opinions. People usually respond to a restrictive force by fighting back against it, resisting attempts at influence. Brehm described psychological reactance as a force aroused by threats to a person's freedom. Psychological reactance is aroused whenever a person is given a direct order or told that an activity is not possible or not allowed. When pushed, people tend to push back. When told they cannot have something, people tend to want it.

Therefore, people may perceive attempts to control their conduct as a threat to their freedom, which they react against (either consciously or subconsciously) by trying to reestablish the perceived threatened freedom by participating in the very behavior that was prohibited.

·         Victimisation (mistaken/wrongful imprisonment):
The clinical findings from the psychiatric assessments have indicated prevalent and often severe mental health and adjustment problems. After release, most ex-convicts are described by their families and others as changed in personality, and showing features of post-traumatic stress disorder and additional depressive disorders, estrangement, difficulty in restoring intimate and family relationships, and complex experiences of loss.

·         Labeling/ stigma of imprisonment:
According to the school of thought known as “labeling theory,” when someone is punished for committing a criminal offense, he is effectively being labeled by the community as bad or deviant, and, in short, he becomes the thing he is described as being.

·         Diminished study and employment Opportunities:
Difficulties in obtaining legitimate employment increase the pressure and temptation for former offenders to earn income through illegitimate means.

·         Denial of Benefits and Other Social Programs:
Former offenders may be impaired economically not only through exclusion from employment, but also through denial of a variety of governmental benefits. Convicted drug offenders may be denied access to small-business loans, educational loans, and other state benefits. Much like barriers to employment, these denials of benefits may contribute to the economic pressure that former offenders face. If anything, the combination of the two phenomena likely magnifies the criminogenic effect of each standing alone. Convicted offenders not only find it difficult to obtain legitimate employment, they also face barriers to supporting themselves and their families in the absence of such employment, thereby increasing pressure to obtain income through illegal channels.

·         Economic effects on families of offenders:
Children and spouses of incarcerated parents invariably lose whatever financial support those parents were providing. Economic deprivations directed at those previously incarcerated also impact their families.


(a)   Imprisonment is an extremely important contributor to the problems of recidivism.” Why is it then that faith in reformation, is constantly reaffirmed as the theoretical justification for imprisoning convicted criminals?

(b)   “It must, however, be clear from the outset to all concerned that it is the sentence of imprisonment, and not the treatment accorded in prison, that constitutes the punishment. Men come to prison as a punishment, not for punishment.” (Per Alexander Paterson, a famous English prison commissioner in the early part of the twentieth century). Critically discuss.

(c)   Which civil rights are ‘expressly or by necessary implication’ taken away by the act of imprisonment?

(d)   Why are some offenders sent to prison and others are not? What does the court mean to achieve when it sends an offender to prison?

(e)   Write a case note: Raymond v. Honey (1983) 1 AC 1.

(f)    Prisons are primarily male institutions.” Discuss


____ Prison Service since Independence. Tanzania Notes and Records No. 76, pp.197-200.

Bernault, F. & Roitman, J., (Eds) (2003) A History of Prison and Confinement in Africa. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Coyle, A. (2005) Understanding Prisons: Key issues in Policy and Practice. Open University Press, Berkshire, England.

Davis, A.Y. (2003) Are Prisons Obsolete? Seven Stories Press, New York.

Fuhrmann, J. & Baier, S., (Eds). (2013) Prisons and Prison Systems: Practices, Types and Challenges. Nova Science Publishers Inc.

Grounds, A.T. (2005) Understanding the Effects of Wrongful Imprisonment. Crime and Justice, Vol. 32, pp. 1-58.

Gupta, A. & Girdhar, N.K. (2012) Risk Factors of Suicide in Prisoners. Delhi Psychiatry Journal, Vol. 15 No.1, pp.45-49.

Hough, M., et al., (2008) Tackling Prison Overcrowding: Build More Prisons? Sentence Fewer Offenders? The Policy Press, University of Bristol, UK.

Logan, C.H. (1990) Private Prisons: Cons and Pros. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

MOHA (2012) Tanzania Prisons Service: Historical Background/About the Department, http://www.moha.go.tz/index.php/prisons-service/prisons-dept-background (Accessed on 21/01/2015).

Paulus, P.B. (1988) Prison Crowding: A Psychological Perspective. Springer-Verlag, London, UK.

Pritikin, M.H. (2008) Is Prison Increasing Crime? Wisconsin Law Review, pp.1049-1108.

Roth, M.P. (2005) Prisons and Prison Systems: A Global Encyclopedia. Greenwood Press, London, UK.

Sarkin, J. (2008) Prisons in Africa: An Evaluation from a Human Rights Perspective. Sur, International Journal on Human Rights, Vol.5:9, pp. 22-51 (ISSN 1806-6445).

Selman, D. & Leighton, P. (2010) Punishment for Sale: Private Prisons, Big Business, and the Incarceration Binge. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., Plymouth, UK.

The UN (2005) Human Rights and Prisons: A Pocketbook of International Human Rights Standards for Prison Officials. UN, New York and Geneva.

Tomar, S. (2013) The Psychological Effects of Incarceration on Inmates: Can we Promote Positive Emotion in Inmates. Delhi Psychiatry Journal, Vol.16:1, pp.66-72.

Williams, D. (1980) The Role of Prisons in Tanzania: An Historical Perspective. Crime and Social Justice, No. 13, Focus on Prisons (summer), pp. 27-38.

End note:

[1] Rules and regulations framed from time to time by the Commissioner of Prisons.

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