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Solitary confinement in SA prisons violates human rights: inspectorate

“Food is provided through a slim postbox sliver. The initial period of solitary confinement extends for at least six months.”

Despite the facilities housing the most dangerous and violent inmates, the JICS said it remained deeply concerned about the harsh affect of solitary confinement.

“This includes severe long-term health issues. These range from depression to suicidal tendencies. These severe consequences should be coupled with the absence of evidence showing that solitary confinement deters crime.”

The inspectorate said a 2019 report by former inspecting judge, Johann van der Westhuizen, titled “From Security to Cruelty? Supermax Correctional Centres: Ebongweni” received attention from correctional services’ acting national commissioner Makgothi Thobakgale, who denied that solitary confinement was taking place at the super maximum facility.

“The findings in the JICS report is noted and acknowledged. Inmates are kept in their cells for 23 hours and given an hour exercise, which is in accordance with the standard operating procedures of the facility. The structural set-up of the facility dictates the incarceration of offenders in single cells. Other activities and services rendered are aligned to phases implemented. This may be perceived as solitary confinement, which is not the case. The intention is to segregate in line with prescripts.”



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