How Pollsmoor can kill you

Sonke Gender Justice and Lawyers for Human Rights challenged the life-threatening conditions in the prison last week before the high court in Cape Town. In their application for a supervisory interdict, they claimed the overcrowding in the remand section is a violation of constitutional standards.

If granted, the interdict will compel the government to remedy prison conditions that have been described by Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron as “profoundly disturbing”. The prison head will have a month to submit a report on the remedial action taken.

Eight current and former inmates and those working in the correctional system have deposed supporting affidavits, which paint a dismal picture of the awaiting-trial section of the heavily overcrowded prison.

The latest piece by senior WJP journalist Ruth Hopkins details the deplorable and often deadly conditions faced by detainees in the awaiting-trial section of Pollsmoor Prison in the Western Cape. It also highlights the work of Sonke Gender Justice and Lawyers for Human Rights who have taken legal action against the Department of Correctional Services, calling for the department to immediately address issues of overcrowding and human rights violations in the facility.

Download the PDF of Ruth’s article as it appeared in the print edition of this week’s Mail and Guardian, here.

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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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