About 85 per cent of prisoners in South Africa commit crimes after their release, according to the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), which has called on the Department of Correctional Services to focus on rehabilitating inmates.
Reacting to news of the deaths of three inmates after a brawl between prisoners and warders at the St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth, in Eastern Cape Province, on Monday, Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said Tuesday:
"That means the work of rehabilitating (prisoners) is not taking place within prisons. So, we feel that there is a need to come up with better means to ensure that all prisons become self-efficient. We do not need prisoners idling around, just waking up, eating and sleeping as is currently happening."
Stressing that more prisoner education is needed, he added: "We feel that taxpayers' money can be redirected to better use, for example in assisting with education. We need prisoners to be self-sufficient. We need them to produce their own food. We need, obviously, to acquire many other skills within prisons; not everything must be tendered out."
Eastern Cape Popcru Chairperson Loyiso Mdingi said the authorities must fast-track the employment of more staff in prisons to avoid unnecessary deaths.
Describing Monday's attack as disturbing, he said: "It is so unfortunate that the incident that took place at St Albans, where three inmates were reported killed in the cells because of the conflict between the warders and the inmates.
"We are going to engage the management of the Department of Correctional Services to say 'Let us speed up the employment of more (staff) members to assist in terms of boosting the manpower."
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK