Just Detention Forum calls on the Department of Correctional services to devise a comprehensive plan to improve prisoner safety after deaths at Groenpunt and St.Albans

The recent deaths of prisoners at Groenpunt and St Alban’s prisons raise serious concerns about the ability of the Department of Correctional Services to guarantee the safety of prisoners. The Groenpunt death is particularly worrying as officials are implicated in the death of the prisoner.

Since 2010/11 the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) has reported on a number of deaths of prisoners implicating officials of the Department of the Correctional Services (DCS). Regrettably no officials have been criminally prosecuted for these deaths.  The apparent failure to prosecute implicated officials has been a long-standing concern of CSPRI and other civil society organisations, who have raised concern regarding:

  • The culture of impunity in DCS in relation to these deaths
  • DCS interference in the deaths of prisoners
  • The inadequacy of police investigations into such deaths
  • The limited powers of JICS to proceed in relation to such deaths
  • JICS public silence in the face of assaults and deaths
  • The tendency to blame deaths on gang activity.

The Just Detention Forum calls for a drastic overhaul of the investigative regime in relation to deaths and assaults on prisoners.

Read the full statement here.




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