Inmates at Paxton Jail alleged that they were not treated fairly by the Department of Corrections.
A memorandum, signed by all detainees, was submitted to the relevant authorities and verified by the Department of Corrections and the South African Prisoners’ Human Rights Organization (Saphor).
Inmates in the memorandum claimed that one inmate died because he allegedly did not have an asthma inhaler.
They said that when someone is in pain, they are given two aspirins to help them deal with the pain. According to the inmates, some of them simply die in their cells.
They further claim that they make the orange uniforms and do not receive any; they are not supported when applying for the parole board and there is no skills development, reform or system in place for study options for inmates with long sentences.
Paxton Prison spokeswoman Ms Thabile Mahlangu responded in a press release, saying: “Offenders have internal channels to register their complaints and inquiries can be made to their unit managers on a daily basis.
The register of complaints and requests (G365), was checked, but these complaints were not recorded by any of the offenders in the units. According to the procedure, the matter must first be reported to the unit manager, then to the HCC, then to the area commissioner and the regional office. National Headquarters will intervene if the matter is not resolved by the regional office. In this case, none of the available platforms were used.
Thabile said the hospital section has to ensure the livelihood of the offenders and has to control the number of pills issued, “because the offenders smoke or sell the pills”.
Regarding education, Thabile said that there is an internal school and offenders have the option of working in agriculture, maintenance or studying at the internal school.
“Management is always ready and available to help offenders, but they can’t do anything if offenders don’t come forward with their complaints,” Thabile concluded.
The detainees said that if no feedback is given or no attempt at change is made, they will go on a hunger strike.
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