Bar deceit from prison security

It is indisputable that prison escapes undermine the integrity of the country's criminal justice system.

It is indisputable that prison escapes undermine the integrity of the country's criminal justice system.

Not surprisingly, Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour has adopted a no-nonsense attitude towards jailbreaks.

This because no government can claim to be serious about combating crime and maintaining law and order while presiding over porous prisons.

Thus, the minister's decision to suspend 11 warders from KwaZulu-Natal's Qalakabusha Prison, where 10 inmates escaped this week, is to be welcomed.

Unethical behaviour by prison warders is still a major problem at the country's penitentiaries. Evidence heard before the Jali commission of inquiry into prisons two years ago also supported this.

Hardly shocking that CCTV footage showed that the break-out was stage-managed, vindicating Balfour's initial suspicions of collusion, negligence and unethical behaviour on the part of some of those entrusted with security in prisons.

Most worrisome is that this episode adds to the growing public perception that prisons are no more than holiday or transit homes for hardened criminals.

Purging our prisons of criminal activity must remain a top priority.

The war against crime can never be won while our jails are perceived to be breeding grounds for criminals

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