Fri, 10 Apr 2020

A prisoner died and an official was injured in an incident at St Albans Correctional Centre in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed the incident in which a detainee attacked and stabbed an official at least six times.

"The offender had to be forcefully restrained. As a result of the incident, both offender and official were hospitalised. The official is in a stable condition," he said.

However, the detainee died as a result of injuries he sustained during the incident.

Nxumalo could not confirm how the injuries were inflicted or the nature of them, but said a post-mortem examination would determine the cause of death.

"An investigation is currently under way and the matter was reported to relevant bodies, such as the Judicial Inspectorate [for Correctional Services], SAPS and the Human Rights Commission," said Nxumalo.

In a Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) report released in November last year, an increase in stabbings at St Albans was blamed on a lack of services at the facility.

"Due to the lack of services, inmates allegedly became aggressive and incidents of stabbing of DCS (Department of Correctional Services) officials escalated from November 10, 2016 to date," JICS spokesperson Emerantia Cupido previously told News24.

The report came after several officials at the prison, which has a ratio of one official to 30 inmates, were stabbed by inmates over the last few years.

The Department of Correctional Services' national task team (NTT) was called in to assist with the situation in May, reportedly until April this year.

The JICS found that as a result of the stabbings, 23 officials were referred for injury on duty, some for up to two years.

"Even after officials return to work, they often have medical letters to the effect that they are not allowed to work directly with inmates or handle firearms. Officials can only be utilised in administrative positions - performing tasks that they were not trained for," Cupido said.

This leads to a staff shortage at the facility which indirectly puts officials and inmates at risk.

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