Pretoria - The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) on Tuesday said it had been “infuriated” by an incident where a correctional services department’s warder was stabbed twice by an inmate who was attempting to escape at the High Court in Johannesburg.
“The incident took place at a time when the correctional official was single-handedly escorting a sentenced inmate from the Johannesburg Correctional Centre’s B section, which houses maximum (security) offenders, at the Johannesburg High Court, where he was overpowered, stabbed and then chained by the inmate who attempted to escape, but was soon caught by members of the public,” said Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo.
“Correctional officials continue to remain vulnerable to attacks because the correctional centres’ management force them to escort inmates single-handedly, going against its policy of having two officials for an individual offender. This has placed the lives of officials at risk, while the courts also do not allow for inmates to be shackled when appearing.”
Mamabolo said the incident, which took place on Monday, has adversely affected the morale of many correctional officials “who continue to be single-handedly forced to escort dangerous convicted criminals or face the risks of being charged by the very management that claims to prioritise their interests”.
Popcru urged warders across South Africa to reject any instructions to escort inmates if the numbers of officers are not sufficient.