Parliamentary question: Correctional Services: abuse and deaths of inmates

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Mr J Selfe (DA) to ask the Minister of Correctional Services:
(1) (a) When was the need identified to (i) offer training to officials of her department on the contents training of the use of force in terms of the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and (ii) revise the rights of inmates to include specific areas of torture in terms of the OPCAT and (b) what steps have been taken to give effect to it in each case;

(2) what are the relevant details of the standard policy of her department regarding the reporting to the SA Police Service (SAPS) for investigation all cases of abuse, assault and ill-treatment of inmates;

(3) whether all such cases are reported; if not, why not; if so, how many cases have been reported to the SAPS in the (a)(i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11 financial years and (b) during the period 1 April 2011 up to the latest specified period for which information is available;

(4) how many incidents of (a) death, (b) segregation, (c) the use of mechanical restraint during segregation and (d) the use of force have been reported to the Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services in the (i)(aa) 2009-10 and (bb) 2010-11 financial years and (ii) during the period 1 April 2011 up to the latest specified period for which information is available to be independently followed up?

REPLY
(1) The Constitutional right of inmates which include the following rights have already been acknowledged in the White Paper on Corrections in South Africa published in 2005:
the right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources; not to be tortured in any way; and not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.

Training on the use of force is a standard part of the training provided to DCS Officials. With regard to the revision of the rights of inmates to include specific areas of torture in terms of the OPCAT DCS is working jointly with relevant national departments such as Justice & Constitutional Development, South African Police Service, Home Affairs and Health to promulgate a Bill through Parliament for the criminalization of torture and the cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

Another process in this regard involves the creation of a National Preventative Mechanism (NPM) which will make it possible for South Africa to ratify the OPCAT.

Article 17 of the OPCAT determines that one or several independent national preventive mechanisms must be designated or established at the latest one year after the entry into force of the present Protocol or of its ratification or accession,

(2) The official policy of the Department is that all cases of abuse, assault and ill treatment of inmates must be investigated departmentally and reported to the SAPS for criminal investigation.

(3)
andronic
9.2720

Normal
0

(3) (3)(a)(i)

(3)(a)(ii)

(3)(b)

2009/2010 Financial Year

2010/2011 Financial Year

1 April 2011 till 31 January 2012

Number of cases of assault of inmates reported to the SAPS

1163

1398

1259

Number of cases of abuse of inmates reported to the SAPS

47

43

37

Number of cases of ill treatment of inmates reported to the SAPS

72

57

42

andronic
9.2720

Normal
0

(4) (4) (i) (aa)

(4) (bb)

(4) (ii)

2009/2010 Financial Year

2010/2011 Financial Year

1 April 2011 till 31 January 2012

(4) (a)

Number of incidents of death of inmate reported to Judicial Inspectorate

778

520

353

(4) (b)

Number of incidents of segregation of inmate reported to Judicial Inspectorate

1513

1808

2045

(4) (c)

Number of incidents of the use of mechanical restraints during segregation of inmate reported to Judicial Inspectorate

39

52

103

(4) (d)

Number of incidents of the use of force reported to Judicial Inspectorate

3

11



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