Mangaung defends antipsychotic injections for prisoners

MPs heard on Wednesday that antipsychotic injections were necessary to subdue inmates at Mangaung prison.

This was the view of medical staff at the Mangaung Correctional Centre, Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services national manager for legal services Umesh Raga said.

He told Parliament's correctional services portfolio committee he had met separately with the correctional service department and private security company G4S, which was contracted to operate the prison.


Last month, the department took control of the prison after prison riots, a hostage situation, and gang violence.

Shocked and injected
Shortly after that allegations surfaced that G4S staff injected inmates with antipsychotic medication and "electro-shocked" them to subdue and control them.

"We spoke to one inmate … and he had indicated that in 2005 he was injected," Raga said.

Raga later approached the hospital's medical team to verify the claim.

"The answer was yes, it was necessary in their professional opinion because these inmates were indicated for that kind of thing. In a normal psychotic situation in a hospital these things are permissible," Raga said.

The inspectorate obtained a list of names of all inmates injected with antipsychotic drugs and would interview as part of an investigation, he said.

Asked whether allegations of assault were reported, Raga said: "There were no allegations that were given to us or that we could find with regard to assaults in this situation."

Problematic
However, the inspectorate confirmed that finding the prisoners who were allegedly tortured was problematic.

"The question of inmates being transferred subsequent to an incident is a problem … What we do is we follow those inmates as far as we can," Raga said.

MPs wanted to know what categories of prisoners were incarcerated at the Mangaung facility.

Raga said senior department officials had told him they had never seen "so many gangsters in one street".

Despite the violent nature of the criminals kept at the prison, there was only one warder for every 64 prisoners.

"I believe in a maximum [security] centre the inmate to warder ratio should ideally be one to 30," Raga said.

The inspectorate would submit a report to MPs once its probe was completed. – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sapa
Guest Author

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: George Euvrard, the brains behind our cryptic crossword

George Euvrard spoke to Athandiwe Saba about his passion for education, clues on how to solve his crosswords and the importance of celebrating South Africa.

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

More top stories

No one should be as rich as Elon Musk

The reactions to Elon Musk’s billionaire status are evidence that far too many South Africans have not fully grasped the destructive consequences of inequality. Entrepreneur...

Department of basic education edges closer to releasing matric results

The basic education department has said that it is almost done with the marking process and that the capturing of marks is in progress.

The rare fairytale of Percy Tau

Through much hard work and a bit of good fortune, the South African attacker has converted a potential horror story into magic

Somali troops may have been drawn into Ethiopia’s civil war

The Mail & Guardian spoke to Somalis about their relatives who disappeared after signing up for military training and fear they may have been killed
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…