Concourt prison TB ruling flouted: Prisoners should sue other prisoners, says Correctional Services

Dudley Lee, who successfully sued the Minister of Correctional Services because he became ill with tuberculosis (TB) while awaiting trial in Pollsmoor prison (GroundUp)

Dudley Lee successfully sued the Minister of Correctional Services because he became ill with tuberculosis (TB) while awaiting trial in Pollsmoor prison (Picture: Nathan Geffen)

“The Department of Justice and Correctional Services (DJCS) is flouting a landmark ruling on the government’s responsibility for curbing the spread of tuberculosis in prisons. The Constitutional Court ruled on December 6, 2012 that the state had failed to protect inmate Dudley Lee from contracting TB in Pollsmoor Prison. But now three inmates who contracted the potentially deadly disease under similar circumstances to Lee in prisons in the Western Cape are being told the department is not liable.”

Overcrowding in South African correctional institutions remains a major concern as it creates an optimum environment for communicable diseases to thrive. According to the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services Annual Report for 2011/2012, the average level of over-crowding in South Africa’s correctional centres was 133%. Furthermore, 110 of the 800 natural deaths in prison were caused by TB. Wits Justice Project senior journalist, Ruth Hopkins’, latest piece in Saturday Star documents lack of accountability from the DJCS for three former inmates who contracted TB under similar circumstances as Mr Lee.

Related readings:

Full prisons not just due to effective NPA

Thousands of prisoners may have undiagnosed TB

What should the state do now that it has lost the Dudley Lee case?

 

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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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