Portfolio committee slams under-used Kokstad prison

2008-06-26 00:00

Cape Town — Parliament’s portfolio committee on correctional services has voiced its concern that the C-Max Prison in Kokstad, which was built in 2002 to house 1 440 maximum prisoners, is still being under-used, despite the lack of available space in prisons.

In a statement yesterday, committee chairman Dennis Bloem said there are only 460 inmates housed in the prison.

Bloem said the under-utilisation of the prison is “unacceptable and a waste of taxpayers’ money’’.

“The committee cannot understand how it can take the department six years to address whatever the problem is.“There are very dangerous prisoners who are serving very long sentences sitting in prisons that are not classified as maximum prisons all over the country,’’ he said.

“The [Correctional Services Department] reported to the committee earlier this week that the capacity at Qalakabusha Prison in KwaZulu-Natal, where an escape took place, was not suitable to keep high risk prisoners.

“The [portfolio on correctional services] committee was further told that 70% of the prisoners at this prison are meant for maximum prisons.

“Prison escapes that took place last year were dangerous, and this is just one example.”

Bloem said the portfolio on correctional services committee will convene a meeting with the national commissioner and his department immediately following the Parliamentary recess, because it views the matter of under- utilisation of C-max prisons in a very serious light.

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