Female prisoners had little to celebrate this International Women’s Day

Kyla Herrmannsen

This past Saturday the world celebrated International Women’s Day – but, as Palesa Manaleng of the Wits Justice Project aptly pointed out, female prisoners had little to celebrate.

Her report ‘Women in Prison: Ignored and Neglected’, published in the Saturday Star, highlighted the ill-treatment of female inmates in South Africa – detailing how basic medical and sanitary provisions are not adequately supplied to the women.

A subsequent report, making headlines just a day after International Women’s Day, has unearthed alleged abuse of South African female inmates currently incarcerated in Mozambican prisons. The report alleges that female inmates are forced by warders to exchange sex for basic sanitary provisions such as soap. The report also details how a heavily pregnant female inmate was forced to spend time in solitary confinement.

While these allegations are shocking, they are sadly not unique. Female inmates have suffered abuse at the hands of warders before and, this phenomenon is not an exclusively third world problem. Just last week, the New York times published a story detailing the rape and abuse of female inmates at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Alabama.

For more female prisoner related stories:

Texas to execute female prisoner

Female Inmates Sexually Abused At Ala. Prison

Force-fed and beaten – life for women in jail

Bangkok Rules Address the Plight of Women in Prison

Female prisoners’ suffering ignored


About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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