The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) is saddened by yet another unfortunate and predictable attack on prison officials at the Pollsmoor Prison, where 5 warders were attacked by inmates and have been taken to various Cape Town hospitals on monday.
Apart from the well-known overcrowding and understaffing issue, which has been the main source of challenges, most correctional officials have been resigning due to the irresponsive attitude the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has displayed.
With the DCS recruitment colleges only taking an average of 1000 students per year, and the prison population growing on a daily basis, the ratio between officials and inmates keeps widening.
The figures of approximately 85% of those who reoffend after being released has also created a bleak hope for this department’s strategies to reduce the prison population rate, and is indicative of the fact that the department is dragging its feet in focusing on its core function of rehabilitating inmates.
We reiterate our call that the only way we can reduce the prison population is through ensuring inmates do not remain idle within correctional centres, and this can be achieved by way of incorporating them into programs that will skill them and also ensure these facilities become self-sustainable.
Inmates must through enhancing their attained skills contribute towards the running costs and decent up-keeping of these centres. We believe this approach will minimise gang activity within and cut down the 85% reoffending rate.
Our members’ conditions of employment and their safety are compromised on a daily basis, and we demand of the employer to urgently review their rehabilitation strategy.
We wish the injured prison officials a speedy recovery.
Issued by POPCRU on 03/03/2017