News / South Africa

Virginia Keppler
1 minute read
20 Mar 2018
6:20 am

Security tech gaps ‘behind SA’s jail breaks’

Virginia Keppler

The human factor also plays a significant role in the high number of escapes, the minister of justice and correctional services admits.

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha admits that the department of correctional services’ serious security challenges have resulted in escapes from prisons.

He said there were four prison escapes early this year. The two most recent were from Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town.

In the first incident, inmates broke a bed and used the metal to force their way through steel bars on a window. The department is investigating.

In the second incident, three prisoners escaped from a police vehicle and have since been recaptured.

“Prior to this year, there were other escapes. Some happened in transit, some on the way to court,” Masutha said.

He also referred to the recent ambush of a police vehicle transporting prisoners from a correctional centre to court.

“We have even had shootouts at the doorstep of courts and we identified those security gaps. There have also been escapes from courts.”

He said investigations had found infrastructure problems and a need to invest in the latest technology.

“A significant factor in these escapes is the human factor and we are looking at issues of training and adhering to procedure where it comes to handling inmates,” he added.

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