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Exploratory Study of Staff Capture at the South African Inspectorate of Prisons

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 36 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2012 Pages: 45-59
Steven R. Wood
Date Published
February 2012
15 pages
This study investigated capture among staff at the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons (JIOP) in South Africa.
When prison inspectorates are co-opted or "captured" by those they are monitoring, their ability to bring transparency, accountability, and a human rights culture to prisons becomes harder. Using survey data from 102 staff at the South African Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons (JIOP), this exploratory study measured the severity of staff capture (i.e., they were not protecting the exclusive interests of prisoners) and potential correlates of capture. Overall, study participants exhibited significant levels of capture with ordinary least squares regression indicating higher levels of capture among staff that were African, thought about someday working for the Department of Correctional Services, felt powerless when prison officials ignored them, and if prison officials respected their work (ps less than .05). Length of JIOP employment was not associated with capture. These findings suggest that the JIOP's policy of not renewing many staffs' 3-year contracts could ironically be putting them at risk for capture. (Published Abstract)