Two Cape prisons where honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani could be detained have been described as a “centre of excellence” and “like a five-star hotel” respectively.
A third prison he may be held in is set to become a world-class facility.
The descriptions were contained in Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle’s verdict, delivered in the Belmarsh Magistrate’s Court in London two days ago, where he ruled Dewani could be extradited.
During pervious extradition proceedings, Dewani’s defence team had focused on factors including overcrowding, gang violence and sexual abuse in local prisons.
But Riddle said he had no reason to doubt that Dewani would be well cared for in the local prisons.
He referred the case to UK Home Secretary Theresa May, who will make the final decision on whether Dewani will have to return to South Africa.
While reading out his verdict on Tuesday, Riddle referred to a report, the Preliminary Skeleton Argument, dated April 26 and which detailed the three prisons Dewani could be detained in.
Based on Riddle’s summary of the report and other sections of his verdict, if Dewani was extradited:
* He would be kept in a single cell in a sick bay at Goodwood Correctional Centre, if he were remanded in custody pending a trial.
The centre was one of the Correctional Services Department’s “centres of excellence” and met the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
In April, it was operating at a 113 percent occupancy rate.
The centre had a healthcare unit separate from the general prison population, where Dewani would be detained. There were two full-time psychologists and a medical doctor who visited three times a week.
With permission, inmates could see their own doctor. Relatives, legal representatives and consular officials would be allowed to visit Dewani.
In the 2010/2011 financial year, 35 assaults on inmates were recorded, but none had occurred in the sick bay area.
* If sentenced and classified as a medium security risk, Dewani would be detained at Malmesbury Medium A Correctional Centre in a separate cell with a flush toilet and hot and cold water.
Judge Deon van Zyl, the chief inspector of SA prisons, said this centre impressed him and was likely to be viewed as “too much like a five-star hotel”.
It was underpopulated and offered a range of recreational activities.
After an inspection in April, the hospital section was described as excellent, clean and hygienic.
Inmates with mental health problems were referred to an outside psychiatrist, who visited twice a month.
In the 2010/2011 financial year, 25 offender-on-offender assaults were recorded.
* If sentenced and deemed a high security risk, Dewani would be detained at Brandvlei New Correctional Centre, in a separate cell with a flush toilet and hot and cold water.
The centre, described as “a new-generation prison”, was being upgraded.
Van Zyl said when it was upgraded, it would “compare with the best security rehabilitation facilities in the world”.
In April, 43 inmates were receiving psychiatric treatment. Last year, there were 67 inmate-on-inmate assaults, a suicide and six attempted suicides at the prison. - Cape Times