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Security at prisons to be 'intensified'

Correctional Services plans to double its efforts to prevent future violence at Groenpunt Prison.

An inmate at the Groenpunt Prison in Deneysville in the Free State appears to suffer from smoke inhalation after part of the facility was set on fire on 7 January, 2013. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Correctional Services plans to double its efforts to prevent future violence at Groenpunt Prison near Deneysville in the Free State, it said on Saturday.

A prisoner died after being beaten by guards on Wednesday, after a fellow offender attacked a prison warder.

The department said some offenders were injured while guards were trying to restrain the man who stabbed a warder with a sharp object twice.

Correctional Services has been under fire from media groups for deleting footage taken by journalists during the incident.

But yesterday it said none of the footage deleted was of the attack, claiming journalists would have been unable to see the incident because it happened in a part of the facility they did not have access to.

The journalists who were there have denied this.

The Department of Correctional Services spokesperson, Grace Molatedi, said they would "intensify" security and work hard to avert future attacks and prevent prisoners from obtaining weapons.

"We will also view how officials deal with the movement of offenders, in terms of the number of officials that should be there when escorting offenders, especially those in maximum security facilities."

The incident came almost two weeks after three warders were hospitalised and several prisoners and officials suffered minor injuries during a riot at the facility.

Prisoners allegedly set three administration offices and several cells alight in protest for better food and that several warders be fired.