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Date: 08 Jun 2012
Title: Portfolio committee impressed with Zonderwater prison
Pretoria - Chairperson of the Correctional Services Portfolio Committee, Vincent Smith, says he is impressed with the rehabilitation programmes implemented at Zonderwater Correctional Centre, situated east of Pretoria.
Speaking on Friday after visiting various correctional centres across the country with other portfolio committee members as part of the committee's quarterly visits to centres, Smith said Zonderwater should be used as a yardstick of what a correctional centre should be.
He added that all other correctional centres should follow the example set by Zonderwater.
Smith and he and the portfolio committee members were also impressed by the fact that products made by prisoners at the centre were of the same quality as ones being sold at markets.
The committee undertakes visits to correctional centres quarterly to get first-hand experience of what is happening and inspect conditions at the centres. During the visits, the portfolio committee members interview officials as well as inmates.
Turning to the Johannesburg Correctional Centre, Smith said he was concerned about overcrowding at the prison, something that was also being experienced at other centres.
Speaking after a meeting with officials from the Johannesburg Correctional Centre and members from the South African Police Service and the Department of Public Works, Smith said there was a high number of female inmates who had been jailed for drug-related offences.
Regional Commissioner Zacharia Modise said prison officials were looking at ways in which they could use technology to prevent prisoners from using cell phones.
"We continue to search inmates for cell phones ... but there will still be those that are sneaked in, so we think using technology would be much better," he said. - BuaNews