New data revealed on inmates in South African prisons has shown that more than 550 inmates die in the country’s correctional services every year.
These shocking statistics were recorded between the year 2015 and 2018 across 243 correctional services in the country.
Spokesperson of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS), Emerantia Cupido said almost 1 495 natural deaths transpired, 28 unnatural deaths (murders) and 78 suicides were reported at correctional services.
The JCIS’s Death in Correctional Centres Seminar held at Pietermaritzburg Correctional Centre last Friday, revealed that most of these deaths were self-inflicted, inmate-on-inmate or official-on-inmate through assault with knives or fists.
“The number of natural and unnatural deaths in correctional centres are just too high,” said Justice Johann van der Westhuizein.
“What emerges is that there needs to be closer co-operation between all stakeholders on after-death investigations involving the correctional centres, the police and the National Prosecuting Authority.”
“In the event of natural and unnatural deaths, it is important that forensic pathologists rather than doctors carry out post-mortems to better identify the cause of death,” Van de Westhuizein added.
Statistics also revealed that majority of the deaths were recorded in Limpopo and Mpumalanga with 1 460 males and 35 females dying while North West recorded 25%, Eastern Cape 22% and Western Cape 11%.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.