CHAPTER 58
PRISONS ACT

[PRINCIPAL LEGISLATION]

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

   Section

Title

PART I
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS

   1.   Short title.

   2.   Interpretation.

PART II
CONSTITUTION AND ADMINISTRATION OF SERVICE

   3.   Composition of Service.

   4.   Temporary prison officers.

   5.   General powers of the Commissioner.

   6.   Commissioner to inspect prisons.

   7.   Powers of Senior Assistant Commissioner and delegation of powers.

   8.   Duties and responsibilities of officer-in-charge of prison.

PART III
POWERS, DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES OF PRISON OFFICERS

   9.   General powers and duties of prison officers.

   10.   Cases where prison officers have the powers and privileges of police officers.

   11.   Arrest of deserters.

   12.   Power to examine persons or vehicles.

   13.   Use of force by prison officer.

   14.   Power to take photographs, fingerprints, etc.

   15.   Non-liability for act done under authority of a warrant.

   16.   Leave of prison officers.

PART IV
RETIREMENT BENEFITS WHICH MAY BE GRANTED TO NON-PENSIONABLE OFFICERS

   17.   Gratuities payable after twelve or more years' service.

   18.   Proportional gratuities payable in certain circumstances.

   19.   Gratuities earned to be deemed part of the officer's estate.

PART V
MEDICAL OFFICERS

   20.   Medical officers.

   21.   Medical examination of prisoners.

   22.   Book to be kept by medical officer.

PART VI
ESTABLISHMENT AND CONTROL OF PRISONS

   23.   Declaration and classification of prisons.

   24.   Temporary prisons.

PART VII
ADMISSION AND CUSTODY OF PRISONERS

   25.   Admission of prisoners.

   26.   Prisoner in custody of officer-in-charge.

   27.   Detention of prisoners in police lock-ups or cells.

   28.   Male and female prisoners to be kept apart.

   29.   Classification of prisoners.

   30.   Commencement and computation of sentence.

   31.   Execution of death sentence.

PART VIII
OFFENCE BY PRISONERS

   32.   Prison offence.

   33.   Powers of prison officer-in-charge to punish prisoners.

   34.   Punishment of prisoners by Commissioner.

   35.   Right to apply for review.

   36.   Magistrate may punish persistent offenders.

   37.   Prisoner's defence.

   38.   Medical examination before punishment.

   39.   Corporal punishment.

   40.   Segregation of a prisoner.

   41.   Register of punishments.

   42.   Prisoners subject to discipline and regulations.

   43.   Powers of officers holding disciplinary inquiries.

PART IX
PRIVILEGES OF PRISONERS AND REMISSION OF SENTENCE

   44.   Religion of prisoners.

   45.   Appointment of prison ministers.

   46.   Visits and letters.

   47.   Postage of letters written by prisoners.

   48.   Approach to visiting justice.

   49.   Remission of part of sentence of convicted criminal prisoner.

   50.   Additional special remission.

   51.   Review of sentence.

   52.   Eligibility for release on community service

PART X
REMOVAL OF PRISONERS

   53.   Removal of prisoners between prisons.

   54.   Removal of sick prisoners to hospital.

   55.   Medical officers and staff to take precautions to prevent escape.

   56.   Measures for further security of prisoners in hospital.

   57.   Prison officer not liable for escape of prisoners in hospital.

   58.   Removal of prisoners of unsound mind.

   59.   Removal of convicted prisoners with leprosy.

   60.   Removal of persons required as witnesses.

   61.   Medical examination before removal.

PART XI
TRAINING AND TREATMENT OF PRISONERS

   62.   Training, treatment and employment of prisoners.

   63.   Women prison officers.

   64.   Employment of women prisoners.

   65.   Medical officer may excuse labour, tasks or other duties.

   66.   Clothing, bedding and dietary scales.

   67.   Gratuity to a prisoner.

   68.   Confinement of convicted criminal prisoners.

   69.   Isolation cells.

   70.   Separation of prisoners.

   71.   Application of solitary confinement and mechanical restraint.

   72.   Prisoner under sentence of death.

   73.   Persons sentenced to short term may opt for extra-mural labour in lieu of imprisonment.

   74.   Medical certificate on death of persons.

PART XII
DETENTION AND TREATMENT OF UNCONVICTED AND CIVIL PRISONERS

   75.   Detention of remand prisoners.

   76.   Segregation of civil and unconvicted prisoners.

   77.   Maintenance of unconvicted prisoners from private sources.

   78.   Employment of civil and unconvicted prisoners.

PART XIII
DISCHARGE AND RELEASE OF PRISONERS

   79.   Discharge of prisoners.

   80.   Release before expiration of sentence.

   81.   Discharge of prisoners in a district other than that in which they usually reside.

PART XIV
OFFENCE IN RELATION TO PRISONS AND PRISONERS AND PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN SPECIFIC OFFENCES

   82.   Penalty for unauthorised wearing of uniforms, etc.

   83.   Penalty for aiding escapes.

   84.   Penalty for loitering in vicinity of a prison, etc.

   85.   Penalty for trafficking.

   86.   Prohibited articles.

   87.   Unlawful possession of prison articles.

   88.   Incitement and abetting of desertion, mutiny and sedition.

   89.   Desertion.

   90.   Penalty for receiving or demanding money or other consideration from a prisoner.

   91.   Penalty for selling or supplying articles to prisoners.

   92.   Penalty for issuing unauthorised testimonial.

   93.   Penalty for giving unauthorised information.

   94.   General penalty.

   95.   Power to prosecute under other law not affected.

   96.   Power to arrest.

   97.   Publication of penalties.

PART XV
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

   98.   Provisions of this Act as to the treatment and conduct of prisoners to be made available to prisoners.

   99.   Evidence of age.

   100.   Limitation of actions.

   101.   Appointment and powers of visiting justices.

   102.   Disposal of deceased's estate.

   103.   Rewards for apprehension of escaped prisoners.

   104.   Prison officers Rewards and Fines Fund.

   105.   Powers of Minister to make regulations.

   106.   [Repeal of R.L. Cap. 58.]

   107.   Savings.

CHAPTER 58
THE PRISONS ACT

An Act to provide for the organisation of prisons, discipline, powers and duties of prison officers, and for matters related thereto.

[15th January, 1968]
[G.N. No. 380 of 1967]

Acts Nos.
34 of 1967
29 of 1968
41 of 1969
13 of 1972
13 of 1991
5 of 1995
9 of 1996
9 of 2002

PART I
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS (ss 1-2)

1.   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Prisons Act.

2.   Interpretation

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires–

   "adult prisoner" means any prisoner of the apparent age of eighteen years or more;

   "appellant prisoner" means any convicted criminal prisoner who is detained in a prison as a result of a conviction which is the subject matter of an appeal which has been entered or lodged but the decisions in regard to which has not been given;

   "civil prisoner" means a debtor, a person ordered to be detained in custody under the provisions of the Mental Diseases Act * or a detainee under the Preventive Detention Act *;

   "convicted criminal prisoner" means any criminal prisoner under sentence of a court or court-martial or a Special Tribunal and includes a person detained in prison under section 57 of the Criminal Procedure Act *;

   "criminal prisoner" means any person duly committed to custody under a writ, warrant or order of any court or authority exercising criminal jurisdiction or by order of a court-martial or a Special Tribunal;

   "deserter" means a prison officer who absents himself from duty without reasonable cause for a period of fourteen days or more;

   "medical officer" means the medical officer appointed by the Chief Medical officer or other officer authorised by him to be the medical officer of a prison, or, if no medical officer has been so appointed, means the medical officer of the district in which the prison is situated, or in his absence any other medical officer employed by the Government;

   "Minister" means the Minister responsible for prisons;

   "non-pensionable officer" means a prison officer who does not hold a pensionable office under the Public Service Retirement Benefits Act * or any written law amending or replacing the same or whose service in a pensionable office does not quality for a pension under any such law;

   "officer-in-charge" means a prison officer appointed by the Commissioner to be in charge of a prison;

   "the Ordinance" means the Prisons Ordinance * repealed by section 105;

   "Principal Commissioner" means the Principal Commissioner of Prisons, and includes any officer for the time being discharging the functions of Principal Commissioner.

   "prison" means a prison established or deemed to have been established under section 23;

   "prison officer" means any member of the Tanzania Prisons Service of whatever rank;

   "prisoner" means any person, whether convicted or not, under detention in any person, whether convicted or not, under detention in any prison;

   "prohibited article" means an article the introduction or removal of which into or out of a prison is prohibited by this Act or by any regulations made thereunder;

   "Senior Assistant Commissioner" means the Senior Assistant Commissioner of Prisons;

   "senior prison officer" means a prison officer of or above such rank as the Minister may specify under subsection (2) of section 3;

   "Service" means the Tanzania Prisons Service established by this Act;

   "Special Tribunal" means a Tribunal established under the Special Tribunals Act *;

   "subordinate prison officer" means a prison officer of or below such rank as the Minister may specify under subsection (2) of section 3;

   "temporary prison officer" means a prison officer appointed under section 4;

   "unconvicted prisoner" means any person on remand or awaiting trial or, in cases of juveniles, awaiting admission to an approved school, or any person detained for safe custody under the Immigration Act *, or the Preventive Detention Act *, or any written law repealing and replacing any of the said Acts and includes any person detained for safe custody;

   "visiting justice" means a person appointed to be a visiting justice under section 100;

   "young prisoner" means a person between the apparent ages of sixteen and twenty-one years.

PART II
CONSTITUTION AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE SERVICE (ss 3-8)

3.   Composition of Service

   (1) The Tanzania Prisons Service Service shall consist of the members of the Service appointed or deemed to have been appointed under this Act.

   (2) The Service shall consist of such ranks of senior and subordinate prison officers as the Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, specify, and prison officers shall have seniority as so specified.

4.   Temporary prison officers

   (1) Whenever it is necessary for the safe custody of prisoners in any prison or hospital or being transported from one prison to another or for any other purpose the Commissioner or, subject to the approval of the Commissioner, an officer-in-charge of a prison may appoint fit and proper persons as may be deemed expedient to act as temporary prison officers, upon such conditions as may be prescribed.

   (2) Every temporary prison officer shall, while so acting, be vested with the same powers, functions and responsibilities, perform the same duties and be subject to the same discipline and authority as a prison officer.

   (3) Where in any prison the number of prison officers detailed for duty therein is insufficient to secure the good management and administration thereof, it shall be lawful for the officer-in-charge of such prison, with the consent of the Inspector-General of Police or his representative, to employ temporarily such number of police officers as he may consider necessary to perform the duties of prison officers in such prison.

   (4) Every police officer appointed in pursuance of subsection (3) shall have all the powers, functions and responsibilities and perform in respect of the prison for which he is so appointed all the duties of a prison officer of the class to which the officer-in-charge shall appoint and, for the purposes of this Act, shall be deemed to be a prison officer.

5.   General powers of the Commissioner

   (1) The Commissioner shall, subject to the orders and directions of the President, have the administrative command, superintendence, control and direction of the prisons and prison officers of Tanzania and, subject to this Act and to such regulations as may be made thereunder, and to any other written law, may make such appointments, promotions, transfers and reductions in ranks and grades of subordinate officers as he may see fit.

   (2) The Commissioner may, subject to the provisions of this Act and to the orders and directions of the Minister from time to time, frame orders and regulations for the observance of all prison officers and may also frame orders for the general governance of such persons in relation to their enlistment, discharge, training, arms and accoutrements, clothing and equipment, place of residence, classification of particular services, as well as their distribution and inspection and may also frame such other orders and regulations relative to the said prison officers as he may deem expedient for preventing neglect or abuse, and for rendering such prison officers efficient in the discharge of their duties and for promoting discipline.

6.   Commissioner to inspect prisons

   The Commissioner shall periodically visit and inspect, or cause to be visited and inspected, all prisons within Tanzania.

7.   Powers of Senior Assistant Commissioner and delegation of powers

   (1) The Senior Assistant Commissioner may, on the directions of the Commissioner, exercise any of the powers or perform any of the duties vested in or assigned to the Commissioner by this Act or any regulations made thereunder or by any other written law.

   (2) The Commissioner may delegate any of the powers vested in him by this Act or any regulations made thereunder or, save where a contrary intention appears therein, by any other written law, to an Assistant Commissioner.

8.   Duties and responsibilities of officer-in-charge of prison

   (1) The control of every prison shall be vested in the prison officer as may be appointed by the Commissioner to be in charge thereof.

   (2) Every officer-in-charge shall supervise prison and control all matters in connection with the prison to which he is appointed, and shall be responsible to the Commissioner for the conduct and treatment of the prison officers and prisoners under his control and for the due observance by prison officers and prisoners of the requirements of this Act and of the regulations, instructions and orders issued thereunder.

   (3) Every officer-in-charge shall be charged with the safe custody of arms, accoutrements, ammunition, clothing and all other public stores and foodstuffs issued and delivered for the use of the prison, the prison officers and the prisoners under his control and with all public money for which he may be held accountable.

   (4) Subject to the provisions of this Act and of any rules made thereunder, every officer-in-charge shall be charged with the safe custody of all valuables, money, articles of clothing and other property entrusted to his keeping as being the property of prisoners, and shall account for the same in case of their being lost or damaged otherwise than by unavoidable accident, theft, robbery or lawful use.

PART III
POWERS, DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES OF PRISON OFFICERS (ss 9-16)

9.   General powers and duties of prison officers

   (1) Every prison officer shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as are by law conferred or imposed on prison officers of his rank, and shall obey all lawful directions in respect of the execution of his office which he may from time to time receive from his senior officers.

   (2) Every prison officer shall be deemed to be on duty at all times and may at any time be detailed for duty in any part of Tanzania.

10.   Cases where prison officer have the powers and privileges of police officers

   While in charge of prisoners for the purpose of conveying any prisoner to or from a prison or for the purpose of apprehending any prisoner who may have escaped from a prison, or who may have escaped while being conveyed to or from a prison, or for the purpose of preventing the rescue of any prisoner or for the purpose of preventing an attack on a prison, every prison officer shall have all the powers and privileges of a police officer.

11.   Arrest of deserters

   Any prison officer may, on reasonable suspicion that any person is a deserter, arrest such person without a warrant and shall forthwith take him before a magistrate.

12.   Power to examine persons or vehicles

   (1) Any prison officer may examine anything within, or being brought into or out of, a prison and may stop and search any vehicle or person within a prison or going into or out of a prison, or, whether within or outside a prison, any person who, or any vehicle which is without authority close to a prisoner, if he has reason to suspect that such person or vehicle is carrying a prohibited article or any property belonging to the Government in use in a prison.

   (2) A senior officer on duty in a prison may refuse admission to the prison to any person who is not willing to be searched.

   (3) A senior officer on duty in a prison may order any person within a prison who refuses to be searched to leave the prison and, if such a person refuses to leave, may cause him to be removed from the prison, and for that purpose may use such force as may be necessary.

   (4) If on stopping and searching any vehicle or person under subsection (1), a prison officer finds any prohibited article or any property belonging to the Government in use in a prison he may arrest the person or the person in the vehicle who appears to have charge of the article or property and shall, as soon as practicable, cause such person to be handed over to a police officer or, in the absence of a police officer, to be taken to the nearest police station.

   (5) Any search of a woman under this section shall be made by another woman with due regard to decency.

13.   Use of force by prison officer

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