POLICY BRIEF 86 | JUNE 2016 Compliance through pain Electric shock equipment in South African prisons Omega Research Foundation Recommendations 1 Body-worn electric shock devices (e.g. stun belts) have no legitimate law-enforcement purpose and their use should be prohibited. 2 Hand-held direct contact electric shock equipment, such as stun shields and stun guns, are prone to abuse and should also be prohibited. 3 Non-electrified batons, shields and cuffs should instead be used to achieve restraint and control. 4 Summary Various kinds of electric shock devices are authorised for use in South African prisons. These are designed to enforce compliance through pain, incapacitation or fear of activation. However, their use has been associated with acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This policy brief provides an overview of electric shock equipment and describes known harmful medical effects associated with its use. It highlights the use and misuse of these types of equipment in correctional institutions in South Africa, and outlines how and why this equipment is in breach of local, regional and international standards. This brief is designed to raise awareness of these concerns and to provide recommendations for change in how electric shock equipment is used in South Africa. WHILE SOME LESS LETHAL and restraint devices may have a legitimate role to Given the problems with other categories of electric shock devices, wired projectile electric shock weapons should be prohibited from being introduced into correctional centres or other places of detention. play in law enforcement, electric shock equipment has been implicated in serious 5 of law-enforcement functions, including the use of less lethal weapons and restraints.1 All use-of-force incidents should be reported and carefully monitored. 6 All prison policies and staff training should be compatible with domestic and international human-rights norms and standards. abuses, at times amounting to torture. The wider concerns surrounding the use of this equipment are not well known amongst law enforcement officials in South Africa, including officers of the law who exercise police powers, especially powers of arrest or detention, or among the bodies charged with monitoring them. The UN sets out important principles and prerequisites for the humane performance These standards make it clear that the use of force must be proportionate, lawful, accountable and necessary if it is to be considered appropriate. In South Africa the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998 states that ‘[a] minimum degree of force must be used and the force must be proportionate to the objective’.2 What is electric shock equipment? Electric shock equipment operates through the application of electricity to the human body to produce an effect. There are two main categories of equipment: direct contact

Select target paragraph3