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Overcrowding still an issue at Pollsmoor prison

Popcru says government needs to look at alternative ways to address the poor conditions of prisoners.

FILE: Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) says government needs to look at alternative ways to address the poor conditions of prisoners at Pollsmoor Correctional Centre.

Parliament’s Select Committee on Security and Justice visited the prison on Wednesday to check whether any progress has been made since Judge Edwin Cameron’s 2015 report on the torrid living conditions in the prison.

While the committee saw a marked improvement on cleanliness in the centre, it says there’s still much work to be done.

The committee found staff shortage is still a major issue, as well as overcrowding in cells, especially in the female prisoners section.

Committee chairperson Dumisani Ximbi says they have spoken to officials at the prison as well as the National Correctional Services Commissioner on ways to address the problems at the prison.

“They can approach the nearest police station where there are lot of unoccupied cells. If they can approach the department of police that would be better, but we need a turnaround strategy from them.”

Popcru's provincial chairperson Mncedisi Mbolekwa says there are many ways government can intervene.

“To ease overcrowding in prison, they could look at releasing some inmates who are not a danger to the community.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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