On Wednesday 28 December, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) confirmed the death of three inmates on Monday at St. Albans Correctional Centre near Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape.
According to DCS Eastern Cape, it is alleged that at approximately 09h00, inmates at St. Albans Maximum Correctional Centre attacked officials with sharp objects.
The department on Tuesday said the incident resulted in the unfortunate death of at least three inmates.
“A total of 25 offenders and five officials sustained injuries. Correctional Services, emergency services and other law enforcement agencies responded to the incident and managed to restore order. Investigations are continuing, and further updates will be provided.”
Members of the public are advised that visits to St. Albans Correctional Centre have been suspended with immediate effect until further notice.
The Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla and DCS National Commissioner Zach Modise visited St. Albans on Tuesday. The correctional facility houses approximate 5 000 inmates.
St. Albans falls within the category of the “Big Five” of South Africa’s Correctional Centres. These include Pollsmoor, Kgosi Mampuru II, Durban-Westville and Johannesburg Correctional Centre otherwise known as Sun City.
The Deputy Minister said the St. Albans incident was tragic and unfortunate.
“This incident is a sharp reminder of the many life threatening conditions under which no less than 38 000 Correctional Officials perform their daily duties in all our 243 Correctional Centres.”
According to the preliminary report received by the Deputy Minister, a total of 33 inmates started attacking officials who were on duty.
He said the offenders who were carrying sharp objects and self-made knives violently attacked officials, which led to an unfortunate standoff until reinforcements were called in.
In the ensuing attack, a total of 13 officials were injured with six of them critically injured and admitted in hospital.
The report said three inmates lost their lives – one in the local prison clinic and the other two at the nearby hospital.
“In order to strengthen our enforcement capabilities, we have decided to place St Albans on a lockdown and suspend all family visits to the centre. This is a necessary precautionary step in order to bring back normalcy to the centre,” he said.
The Minister has extended condolences and sympathy to the families and relatives of the deceased inmates. – SAnews.gov.za
Inmates at a Kimberley prison are accusing prison warders of ill treatment. Cellphone video footage posted to the SABC Northern Cape’s Facebook page, appears to show rotten bread being fed to inmates. The footage also appears to show overcrowding and the alleged assault on an inmate. The video clip was allegedly taken by inmates — apparently proof of ill treatment behind bars. Claims that the Department of Correctional Services denies. Asked for comment, Deputy Minister of correctional services, Thabang Makwetla said the department is battling the smuggling of contraband items by corrupt officials. The department has admitted that some facilities are overcrowded.