4 000 awaiting-trial prisoners to be moved from Pollsmoor

Tammy Petersen, News24

Cape Town - Four thousand prisoners on remand and awaiting trial will be moved from Pollsmoor Prison to neighbouring correctional facilities from next week to allow for fumigation of the facility.

An inmate died last month of leptospirosis, an infectious bacterial disease that can be transmitted to humans through contact with rodents.

Pollsmoor Area Commissioner Clifford Mketshane said two other prisoners contracted the disease and were taken to Victoria Hospital in Wynberg.

“They have since been transferred to the prison’s hospital section for treatment and are doing well,” he said.

The inmate’s death is being investigated by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Mketshane said.

He was willing to confirm only that the move would start next week. More details could result in a security breach, he said.

Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron and his law clerks published a scathing report of Pollsmoor Prison earlier this month after visiting the remand centre and the women's centre in April.

According to the report, the “extent of overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, sickness, emaciated physical appearance of the detainees and overall deplorable living conditions were profoundly disturbing".

The Correctional Services Act authorises judges to visit prisons. In 2009 the Constitutional Court began a programme of prison visits and monitoring.

The report found that the remand centre was "extremely overcrowded at over 300% capacity" with 4 198 inmates.

The cells were described as filthy and cramped and in one of the cells the team noted 60 inmates with 24 beds.

Plumbing and sanitation was noted as being unacceptable.

Source http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/4-000-awaiting-trial-prisoners-to...