UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF PRISONERS MUST BE PROTECTED

STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM ACTING SPOKESPERSON CORRECTIONAL SERVICES

The warning by doctors to Parliament regarding the dismal sanitary and health conditions at Pollsmoor prison is only one facet of a multi-facetted problem.

Over-crowding and under staffing of medical personnel all compound the reality of diseases such as tuberculosis and meningitis, and the complicated control of fleas, lice and scabies. It is unacceptable that 50 prisoners are housed in cells designed for 20, or that the maximum-security section designed for 1 619 inmates houses between 3 500 and 4 000 prisoners.

Exacerbating this problem is the fact that prisoners are not encouraged to rehabilitate, but instead they sit around smoking dagga. This has been highlighted by the recent confiscation of a large quantity of drugs, mostly dagga. According to a report by the Minister of Correctional Services, this type of confiscation occurs on a daily basis. It is unacceptable that the Minister can make such a report, and not propose any solutions.

The UDM calls on the Minister of Correctional Services to urgently implement national programmes to combat the spread of disease, over-crowding, as well to uplift the prison community. Their constitutional rights to health care, food and water, as well as human dignity must be protected, if we are to expect any rehabilitation. Otherwise they leave prisons with even less regard or respect for the rights of the individual and communities they return to.

Enquiries:
Ms. A. Van Wyk, MP
UDM Acting Spokesperson on Correctional Services
 082 557 4184

Cape Town
03 October 2001