The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) strongly condemns the stabbing of 5 correctional services members who were attacked when intervening to halt a gang-related altercation between inmates at the Sun City correctional facility over the weekend.

Both inmates and officials got injured from this unfortunate, planned altercation where these gangs were fighting against another. These officials have since been rushed to the Mulbarton Hospital for medical treatment with serious injuries.

This altercation happened at a time when half of the staff complement was off-duty in line with the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) shift pattern model, with a small number of officials having to overlook just below 500 inmates in the specific section that saw this altercation.

In the current shift pattern, there are two shifts with half of the staff at home while the other is at work at any given time, while nationally, the DCS training colleges can only accommodate 1000 trainees per year, simply indicating that, provided no measures are taken, the understaffing challenge will not be addressed in the near future cause of the growing prison population, therefore compromising the much-needed rehabilitation process.

We have on numerous occasions raised with the DCS that there are no proper shift patterns as they cause staff shortage on a regular basis, a challenge compounded by the fact that we also have understaffing and overcrowding within our facilities, meaning the current shift patterns aggravates the situation and urgently need to be reviewed.

We need proper strategies to deal away with gangsterim within correctional facilities, and that can only be achieved by employing proper rehabilitation processes, and not the installation of surveillance facilities. The DCS needs to focus on its core business of rehabilitating inmates.

Inmates should not remain indolent in correctional facilities, but do consistent work that will ensure these facilities become self-sufficient. They must contribute towards the running costs and decent up-keeping of these centres as this will contribute towards their rehabilitation and skills development.

Issued by POPCRU on 15/08/2016

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