Dewani must show ‘respect and humility’ to survive

2011-05-07 16:51

Shrien Dewani, if found guilty, can survive his South African prison ordeal, provided he cuts himself off from the outside world and adapts to his new situation the moment he enters prison.

Three former prisoners who spoke to City Press say Dewani would be much better off in Goodwood and Malmesbury prisons compared with the others in the Western Cape.

They recommended that Dewani show respect, discipline, humility and subservience towards his fellow inmates and wardens in order to survive.

“Goodwood is okay. When I was there in 2002 for seven months, it had 18 inmates in a cell,” said John*, a former inmate sentenced to 15 years. He said Malmesbury, on the other hand, was the “ideal prison”.

Jake*, sentenced to 12 years in Malmesbury for murder, said that it was considered a “model C” prison compared with others in the province.

“Only two people share a cell, there is television to watch, you can play a sport and further educate yourself.”

He said Dewani would initially begin to feel alone, scared of the unknown and be treated inhumanely, as other inmates tried to break him down once he is inside.

“It took me up to six months in there before I could sleep with my eyes closed because there’s always that fear during the night,” he said.

Jake also spent almost two years at Pollsmoor prison.

“Pollsmoor prepares those awaiting trial for what’s to come if they’re sent to maximum security prisons because the conditions and treatment in there is harsh.

“But I think Dewani’s money will help him survive because he can be a piggy bank in there.”

Mike*, who was imprisoned for 20 years, said that it felt like you’re on trial again once you entered prison.

“They try to rope you into their system by asking who you are and what you are in for.

“Keeping busy and spirituality are the only two things that can keep inmates from going insane. But Dewani is in for a tough time due to his ‘pretty boy’ looks, which make him vulnerable to being sodomised. Inmates are going to give him a harder time because he’s foreign and because of his high-profile case,” he said.

* Not their real names

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