Prisoner only ‘acting up’ in what looks like escape bid

2013-11-08 00:00

BARELY a week after a prisoner had to be talked down from the prison roof, another inmate had to be subdued after he attempted to scale steel bars in the courtyard outside the cells at the Westville Prison’s Medium B section yesterday morning.

But according to Correctional Services area commissioner Hento Davids, the prisoner was not really trying to escape, he was “just acting up” due to his mental state.

“I take it the warders who were conducting the count might not have been aware that the inmate was mentally disturbed,” he said.

“While waiting for him to state the complaint, he started acting up. He climbed onto the steel net, but was brought down. He had since been taken to the prison hospital where he was sedated.”

Yesterday morning, The Witness was tipped off that a convict had made a break to freedom.

However, it was discovered later that the inmate was caught still within the prison perimetre.

Sources from inside said the prisoner went up into the ceiling, but was found before he could make it to the roof and get outside the prison wall.

The sources said had the prisoner made it to the roof, he could have jumped off the roof and walked for about 10 metres to the prison’s perimetre fence.

While The Witness was on the call to the facility, sirens could clearly be heard in the background.

However, Davids denied that there had been an attempted escape.

He said officials from within the prison were feeding the media with inaccurate information for “devious purposes”.

He said during the morning checks one prisoner wanted to raise a complaint, before losing control.

“We will get a full report once the doctors are done assessing him,” said Davids.

Asked if it was normal practice for the siren to go off when a prisoner was “acting up” within the prison cell peri­meter, Davids said this was done to summon more manpower to calm the situation.

“The last thing we want is get people hurt when an inmate acts up,” he said.

Last Thursday, a prisoner escaped to the roof top of the same section of the facility, demanding that Correctional Services Minister Sbu Ndebele come and listen to his grievances. Prison officials said the prisoner had “a mental condition” and at the time he was taken to the hospital section and sedated.

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