‘Inmates must contribute towards running costs and upkeep of jails’: Popcru

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) on Monday took issue with Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) shift pattern model after five staff members were stabbed over the weekend.

A statement from the union said they “were attacked when intervening to halt a gang-related altercation between inmates at the Sun City correctional facility over the weekend” in Johannesburg.

“This altercation happened at a time when half of the staff complement was off-duty in line with the 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‚” said spokesperson Richard Mamabolo.

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He said that 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”‚ and because of this staff shortages occur “on a regular basis‚ a challenge compounded by the fact that we also have understaffing and overcrowding within our facilities”.

That “DCS training colleges can only accommodate 1000 trainees per year” would mean “the understaffing challenge will not be addressed in the near future”‚ Mamabolo added.

He said that the problem of “gangsterism within correctional facilities” needed to be tackled “by employing proper rehabilitation processes‚ and not the installation of surveillance facilities”.

“The DCS needs to focus on its core business of rehabilitating inmates‚” said Mamabolo.

“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 upkeep of these centres as this will contribute towards their rehabilitation and skills development.” – TMG Digital

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