Prisons Act, 1964
Act 40 of 1964
- Commenced on 1 September 1964
- [This is the version of this document at 1 December 1998.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Prisons Act, 1964.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—“appellant prisoner” means a convicted criminal prisoner who is detained in a prison as a result of a conviction which is the subject matter of an appeal, notice of which has been accepted but the decision in regard to which has not been given;“civil prisoner” means a prisoner other than a criminal prisoner;“Chief Medical Officer” means the person appointed by the Public Service Commission to be Chief Medical Officer;“convicted criminal prisoner” means a criminal prisoner under sentence of a court;“criminal prisoner” means a person duly committed to detention in a prison under the writ, warrant, or order of a court exercising criminal jurisdiction or by order of a court martial;“Director” means the person appointed by the Public Service Commission to be Director of Prisons;“disciplinary offence” means a disciplinary offence under this Act;“hospital” includes a leper asylum but does not include an institution;“immigration officer” has the same meaning as in the Immigration Act No. 32 of 1964;“institution” has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Mental Disorders Act No. 48 of 1963;“leper asylum” has the meaning of asylum in section 2 of the Leprosy Act No. 23 of 1904;“magistrate” means a magistrate appointed under section 4(2)(a) of the Magistrate's Court Act, No. 66 of 1938;“magistrates' court” means a court established under the Magistrate's Court Act, No. 66 of 1938;“major prison offence” means an offence declared by regulation to be a major prison offence;“medical officer” means a medical officer in the department of the Ministry of Health;“mentally disordered or defective person” has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Mental Disorders Act No. 48 of 1963;“Minister” means the Deputy Prime Minister;“minor prison offence” means an offence declared by regulation to be a minor prison offence;“offence against prison discipline” or “prison offence” means a prison offence prescribed by regulation;“officer in charge” means an officer placed in charge, or deemed to have been placed in charge under section 24;“official visitor” means any person referred to in section 62(1);“prison” means a place declared to be a prison under this Act or deemed by it to be a prison and shall include—(a)any place or premises (including an institution) to which prisoners may be sent from a prison for the purpose of imprisonment, detention, training, medical attention or otherwise; and(b)all offices and quarters used in connexion with the prison;“prisoner” means a person, whether convicted or not, under detention in a prison;“prison medical officer” means a medical officer designated under or deemed to be designated by section 27(2);“prison officer” or “officer” means a member of the service or police officer employed under section 25(1) to be a prison officer;“prohibited article” means an article contained in a list, written in English and siSwati, placed by the officer in charge in a conspicuous place outside a prison signed by the Director or by the officer in charge on his behalf, and containing particulars of the articles which the Director declares to be prohibited;“remand centre” means a place declared under section 22 to be a remand centre and shall include—(a)any place or premises at which remand prisoners may be detained for the purpose of awaiting trial;(b)all offices and quarters used in connection with such remand centre.[Added K.O-I-C. 39/1977]“senior officer” means an officer mentioned in section 3(2)(a);“service” means the prisons service constituted by section 3;“signification of His Majesty's Pleasure” means the exercise by the King of the powers conferred on him by section 92 of the Constitution;“subordinate officer” means an officer mentioned in section 3(2)(b);“Swazi Court” means a court established or recognised under the Swazi Courts Act No. 80 of 1950;“unauthorised communication” means a communication not authorised by this Act;“unconvicted criminal prisoner” means a criminal prisoner not under sentence of a court or court martial;“visiting committee” means the visiting committee appointed under section 63.[Amended L.33/1966]
Part II – Constitution and administration of Swaziland prisons service
3. Composition of the service
4. RulesSubject to section 122 read with sections 121 and 116 of the Constitution, any regulations and any other law, the Minister may make rules as to—
5. Administration of the service
6. Annual report of Director
Part III – Functions and protection of prison officers
7. General functions of prison officers
8. Responsibility of officer in charge for stores, etc.
9. Cases where prison officers have the functions and protection of police officersWhile in charge of prisoners and for the purpose of conveying any person to or from a prison, or apprehending a prisoner who may have escaped from a prison or while being conveyed to or from a prison, a prison officer shall, subject to this Act, have all the functions and protection of a police officer.
10. Power to examine persons or vehicles for prohibited articles
11. Arms and use of force by a prison officer
12. Power to take photographs, finger-prints, etc., of prisonersWithout prejudice to section 342 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act No. 67 of 1938 and subject to any regulations made for the purpose, the Director may, with the approval of the Minister—
13. Non-liability for act done under authority of a warrant
Part IV – Offences by prison officers
14. Leaving the service without permission
15. Assault on officer senior in rankA prison officer who assaults, threatens, or insults an officer senior to him in the service, when such senior officer is on duty, or such assault, threat, or insult relates to, or is consequent upon, the discharge of duty by the officer so assaulted, threatened, or insulted, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty emalangeni or imprisonment not exceeding three months, or both.
16. Miscellaneous offences by prison officersA prison officer shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty emalangeni or imprisonment not exceeding three months, or both, if—
17. Other offencesA prison officer or any other person with a duty towards prisoners shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of fifty emalangeni or imprisonment not exceeding two months, or both, if he—
18. Prohibition of membership of trade unions
19. Prohibition of dealings with prisonersA prison officer shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty emalangeni or imprisonment not exceeding one month, or both, if he—
20. Search of prison officers
21. Powers of officers holding disciplinary inquiries
Part V – Establishment and control of prisons
22. Declaration of prison
23. Temporary prisons
24. Officers in charge
25. Appointment of police officers to perform functions of prison officers
26. Women officers and female prisonersIn a prison in which there are female prisoners, the officer in charge shall designate a woman prison officer to have the care and the superintendence of the female prisoners, and to be responsible for their discipline.
27. Medical officers
Part VI – Admission, control and discharge of prisoners
28. Custody of prisoners
29. Detention of remand prisoners
30. Custody of persons under arrestA person arrested in pursuance of any warrant or order of a court may, if such court is not sitting, be handed over to the custody of the officer in charge of a prison who shall cause him to be brought before such court at its next sitting.
31. Prisoners required in court
32. Prisoners to be subject to prison discipline
33. Maintenance of certain prisoners from private sources
34. Separation of male and female prisonersMale and female prisoners shall be confined in separate prisons or in separate sections of the same prison in such manner as to prevent, as far as practicable, their seeing, or conversing or otherwise communicating with each other.
35. Removal of prisoners
36. Insane or mentally disordered or defective prisoners
37. Removal of sick prisoners to hospital
38. Measures for further security of prisoners in hospital
39. When prison officer liable for escape of prisoner in hospital or institutionIf a prisoner escapes during the time he is in a hospital or institution—
40. Employment of prisoners and abolition of hard labour
41. Employment of unconvicted prisoners
42. Release of prisoners
Part VII – Remission of sentences
43. Remission of part of sentence of certain prisoners
Part VIII – Offences by prisoners
44. Prison offences
45. Adjudication of offences
46. Adjudication and awards: Prison offencesAn officer in charge of a prison who, in accordance with this Act, adjudicates on a prison offence may, if he finds the prisoner guilty, make one or more of the following awards—
47. Adjudication and awards: Certain prison offences
48. Punishment for offences of escape, etc.
49. Corporal punishment and penal diet
50. Prisoner's defenceA prisoner shall not be punished for a prison offence until he has had an opportunity of hearing the charge against him and making his defence.
51. Register of punishmentsThe officer in charge shall cause a record of all punishments imposed upon prisoners showing, in respect of each prisoner punished, his full name, the nature of his offence, and the extent of his punishment, to be entered in a register which shall be open to inspection by official visitors and the visiting committee.
52. Segregation of prisonerIf it appears to the officer in charge that it is desirable for the good order and discipline of the prison for a prisoner to be segregated and not to work or be located in association with other prisoners, the officer may order the segregation of such prisoner for such period as he considers necessary.
Part IX – Offences in relation to prisoners
54. Prohibited articles
55. Seizures of prohibited articles, etc.Whether or not criminal or disciplinary proceedings are commenced against any person, and whether or not the article in question is found on a person or in a vehicle, a prison officer may seize any article unlawfully in a prison, and the Director may order the confiscation of such article.
57. Unlawful possession of prison articlesA person shall be guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding fifty emalangeni or imprisonment not exceeding three months, or both, if—
58. Incitement, etc., of mutiny, etc.A person shall be guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding two hundred emalangeni, or both, if—
59. Penalty where no penalty specially providedA person convicted of an offence under this Act in respect of which a penalty is not specially provided shall be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty emalangeni or imprisonment not exceeding three months, or both.
Part X – Extramural penal employment
60. Labour of short sentence prisoners
Part XI – Miscellaneous
61. Visits by clergy and religious services
62. Official visitors
63. Visiting committeeSubject to any regulations made for the purpose, the Minister may appoint a visiting committee to each prison for the purpose of reporting to him on the management of the prison, and the treatment of prisoners there.
65. Persons unlawfully at large
History of this document
01 December 1998 this version
01 September 1964
Cited documents 4
Documents citing this one 19
- Commissioner General [Correctional Services] v Ndlovu (51 of 2015)  SZHC 19 (23 February 2015)
- Dlamini v Kunene and Others (30 of 2013)  SZHC 78 (8 April 2013)
- Gama Vs Chairman Of Prerogative Of Mercy Committee & Others (81 of 2017)  SZSC 25 (1 June 2022)
- Khulu v Rex (13 of 1998)  SZSC 22 (3 December 1999)
- Maia v The Chairman of the Civil Service Commission and Others (1070 of 2015)  SZHC 25 (17 February 2016)
- Mhlanga And Another v The Commissioner Of Police And Others (12 of 2008)  SZSC 21 (23 May 2008)
- Mhlanga and Others v Commissioner of Police and Others (764 of 7)  SZHC 8 (31 January 2008)
- Ministry Of Tourism And Environmental Affairs And Another v Zuke And Another (96 of 2017)  SZSC 37 (24 October 2019)
- Motsa v Gamedze (Nee) Lukhele and Another (4044 of 2007)  SZHC 80 (15 July 2008)
- R v Dlamini (84 of 2004)  SZHC 28 (9 February 2006)
- R v Mamba (62 of 6)  SZHC 48 (15 May 2007)
- Rex v Gama  SZHC 63 (13 August 1993)
- Swaziland National Association Of Teachers (snat) And Another v Swaziland Government And Another  SZIC 87 (13 December 2000)
- Swaziland National Provident Fund v Shongwe (6 of 2016)  SZICA 5 (14 October 2016)
- Swaziland Police Union and Another v Commissioner of Police and Others (341 of 2007; 764 of 2007)  SZHC 114 (29 April 2008)