‘Inmates beaten, shocked, tortured’ and other recent WJP stories

(credit: Oupa Nkosi, Mail and Guardian)

(credit: Oupa Nkosi, Mail and Guardian)

The Wits Justice Project has had a productive few days – we’ve covered a range of topics in recent publications in the Mail and Guardian, The Star and The Saturday Star.

Today, our senior journalist, Carolyn Raphaely’s expose on mass-torture of inmates at St Albans Medium B Prison in Port Elizabeth was front page news – sharing the front page of The Star with recent expert witness testimony that revealed botched police work in the Oscar Pistorius trial.

The story revealed that over 200 inmates were beaten and tortured at the hands of the Department of Correctional Service’s Emergency Response Team (EST). Inmates were made to lie on the ground naked in a human chain, with their noses in the anus of the inmate in front of them. The torture took place during a supposed routine search for contraband.

An in depth follow up to this story will appear in tomorrow’s edition of The Star.

Here’s a quick recap of other recent reports published by the WJP:

Presumed Innocent, rotting in jail – a story by senior journalist, Ruth Hopkins, on South Africa’s longest standing awaiting trial detainee, Victor Nkomo. Nkomo was denied bail and, as a result, has been incarcerated in Sun City’s awaiting trial section for the past 8 years while his trial continues to drag on.

Women in Prison: ignored and neglected – a story by journalism intern, Palesa Manaleng, that details the trials and tribulations of female inmates in South African prisons who, as the story reveals, are largely forgotten. The story reveals how female inmates are made to survive with inadequate medical supplies and scarce/no sanitary products.

‘Correctional’ has lost its meaning – a story by journalism intern, Kyla Herrmannsen, that reveals the inadequate spending – just a miniscule amount of the budget – by the Department of Correctional Services on rehabilitation, specifically focusing on substance abuse rehabilitation.

In addition to these stories, Project Coordinator, Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi recently featured on Power Talk on Power FM in an informative discussion with host, Eusebius McKaiser, about the plight of remand detainees.

McKaiser, speaking about the fact that prisoner issues often remain out of the public realm due to an out of sight out of mind mentality remarked, “One of the projects, in fact the only one I’m aware of that really on a massive scale has been doing fantastic public work around this not just as a media project but as a justice project and as a legal reporting project is of course, the Wits Justice Project.”

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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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