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South Africa

Prisons Act

No 8 of 1959


36. (1) Corporal punishment shall not be inflicted before the medical officer has examined the prisoner and has certified that he is in a fit state of health to undergo such punishment.

(2) If it appears to the medical officer that the prisoner is not in a fit state of health to undergo corporal punishment, he shall certify that fact in writing.

(3) After the prisoner has been certified by the medical officer to be fit for corporal punishment, the punishment shall be inflicted in private in a prison in the presence of the medical officer.

(4) The medical officer shall immediately stop the infliction of any further punishment if it appears to him during the infliction of the corporal punishment that the prisoner is not in a fit state of health to undergo the remainder thereof, and shall certify that fact in writing.

(5) Whenever under the provisions of ss. (2) or (4) any medical officer has certified that any person sentenced to undergo corporal punishment is not in a fit state of health to undergo the whole or the remainder thereof, the certificate shall immediately be transmitted to the Commissioner and, if urgently necessary, the fact shall be reported to him by telegraph.

(6) (a) Upon the receipt of any such certificate by telegraphic advice, the Commissioner shall report the matter to the Court which passed the sentence, or, in the case of a superior Court, if that Court is not sitting, to the Provincial Division of the Supreme Court concerned, and such Court or Provincial Division may, subject to the provisions of any relevant law, either remit the sentence of corporal punishment or substitute another penalty in lieu of the sentence of corporal punishment.

(b) If no remission or substitution as aforesaid is made by the Court or Provincial Division, the President may remit the whole or the remainder of the corporal punishment, as the case may be.

(7) Where corporal punishment has been ordered in more than one sentence passed at or approximately the same time on the same person, that punishment shall not be inflicted at intervals, but shall be inflicted at one and the same time as early as possible after the sentences were passed, subject to the provisions of this section and of any law relating to the review of such sentences by a Judge.

(8) The number of strokes inflicted at one and the same time in terms of ss. (7) shall in no instance exceed ten and the remainder of the strokes, if any, ordered in the said sentences shall lapse.

37. No woman prisoner shall under any circumstances be subjected to corporal punishment.

48. (1) Any prisoner who -

(a) escapes or conspires with any person to procure the escape of any prisoner, or who assists or incites any other prisoner to escape from the prison in which he is placed, or from any post or place where or herein he may be for the purpose of labour or detention, or from hospital or while in the course of removal in custody from one place to another; or

(b) makes any attempt to escape from custody; or

(c) is in possession of any instrument or other thing with intent to procure his escape or that of another prisoner,

shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, and, in addition, where the escape or attempt to escape was accompanied by an act of violence, such prisoner may be sentenced to undergo corporal punishment not exceeding seven strokes.

54. (2) Upon conviction of any prisoner in respect of any such contravention or non-compliance, such commissioned officer shall have jurisdiction to impose any one or more of the following punishments:




(d) corporal punishment, not exceeding six strokes, if the prisoner is a convicted male prisoner apparently under the age of 40 years and no other punishment is imposed on him in respect of the same contravention or non compliance.

56. (3) No sentence, other than a sentence imposing corporal punishment, shall be suspended pending the decision of the said Judge.


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Copyright Colin Farrell 2000
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