Prison staff at risk, says union

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IOL news jan 25 prisoners

Independent Newspapers

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johannesburg - Efforts to cut costs by the department of correctional services are putting prison staff at risk, the Public Servants Association (PSA) said on Wednesday.

“(We) have raised the issue of the safety of employees over 1/8the 3/8 years with the national commissioner, without any success,” deputy general manager Manie de Clercq said in a statement.

One of the strategies employed by the department to economise was a shift system, which meant that only half of the staff of prisons were on duty at any given time.

De Clercq said recent attacks on staff of St Albans prison, near Port Elizabeth, led the PSA to advise staff employed at jails “not to risk personal safety in pursuit of service delivery”.

On Tuesday, three warders were stabbed and wounded at St Albans when two prisoners attacked them with sharpened objects, correctional services regional commissioner Nkosinathi Breakfast said.

The warders suffered minor cuts to the forehead and were taken to a local hospital in a stable condition.

The department could not immediately be reached for comment. - Sapa


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