Severe overcrowding at Grootvlei

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Duane Petrus – The Grootvlei prison in Bloemfontein is currently experiencing severe overcrowding.

The Minister of Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, who visited the facility yesterday, says the facility currently houses almost double the amount of inmates that it is designed to accommodate.

He said 157 000 inmates are currently incarcerated nationwide, which are collectively overcrowded by 37 000 inmates.

He added that this figure has decreased by 30 000 over the last decade.

Masutha said the number of juvenile inmates has also reduced over the same period.

He added that overcrowding at Grootvlei renders the quality of services and programs they provide at the facility.

“One of the aspect relates specifically to remanded detainee numbers. If cases are dealt with speedily and effectively, that should also translate, in most instances, in significant reductions in the numbers of detainees at correctional facilities,” Masutha said.

He said one of the reasons for the overcrowding is cases that are not handled speedily.