Inmates in South African prisons – whether sentenced or awaiting trial – are subjected to dire conditions of detention. Prisons are severely overcrowded, under-staffed, lack proper ventilation and sanitation, and do not offer inmates sufficient healthcare, nutrition, or recreational time. Poor conditions such as these increase the likelihood of sexual violence perpetration as well as the transmission of diseases such as HIV and TB. This does not only present a human rights violation for inmates, but has the potential affect the population at large, because inmates are not a static population – they move around the prison system and back and forth from the outside world. Therefore it is crucial to prevent cruel and degrading treatment of inmates and ensure that they are detained in conditions that preserve their rights and wellbeing.
Read the Pollsmoor case Explainer here