Wits Justice Project: Correctional Centres, SA

Wits has been sharing some important information on South African correctional centres to help educate the public on key concerns in the criminal justice system. According to the annual report of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), there are currently 243 correctional centres in South Africa, with a total prison population of 159,241.

Of this figure, more than 40,000 are remand, or awaiting trial detainees. This means that their trials have not concluded, and that they have yet to be found guilty of the crime with which they have been charged. Overcrowding levels are currently estimated at 29.7%, the total population of inmates occupying bed space for only 120,000. The report also showed an alarming ratio of wardens to inmates, with as few as four wardens at Johannesburg ‘Sun City’ Prison guarding approximately 1,300 inmates.

Wits has also been key to ensuring that the gross human rights violations of G4S, a British security company that runs the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein, do not go ignored.