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“Ubuntu” I am because we are: COVID-19 and the legal framework for addressing communicable disease in the South African prison system.

Van Hout, MC and Wessels, J “Ubuntu” I am because we are: COVID-19 and the legal framework for addressing communicable disease in the South African prison system. International Journal of Prisoner Health. ISSN 1744-9200 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Purpose: Severely congested and ill resourced prison systems in Africa face unprecedented challenges amplified by COVID-19. South Africa has recorded the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in Africa and on March 15th 2020 declared a national state of disaster. The first prison system case was notified on April 6th 2020.
Design/methodology/approach: A legal-realist assessment of the South African prison system response to COVID-19 in the 12 months following initial case notification focused on the minimum State obligations to comply with human rights norms, and the extent to which human, health and occupational health rights of prisoners and staff were upheld during disaster measures.
Findings: A legal-realist account was developed, which revealed the indeterminate nature of application of South African COVID-19 government directives, ill resourced COVID-19 mitigation measures, alarming occupational health and prison conditions and inadequate standards of health care in prisons when evaluated against the rule of law during State declaration of disaster.
Originality: This legal-realist assessment is original by virtue of its unique evaluation of the South African prison system approach to tackling COVID-19. It acknowledged State efforts, policy making processes and outcomes, and how these operated within the prison system itself. By moving beyond the deleterious impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the already precarious South African prison system, we argue for rights assurance for those who live and work in its prisons, improved infrastructure and greater substantive equality of all deprived of their liberty in South Africa.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1117 Public Health and Health Services, 1602 Criminology, 1605 Policy and Administration
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
K Law > KL Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV7231 Criminal Justice Administrations
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV8301 Penology. Prisons. Corrections
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: Emerald
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2021 09:14
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 09:15
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15465

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