Yet another slap in their faces
DURING court proceedings or upon finalisation of their trials, some criminals have a tendency of sneering at the families of those they have either raped or killed. They have unashamedly flashed zap signs at bereaved families or women they raped, disregarding their pain. Some of the affected people sit there in tears, defeated and enraged by the fact that the person who took their loved one’s life gets to live and eat food bought by their tax money and their families have the luxury of visiting them, even enjoying a few more years with them once they are released.
Imagine what it must have been like for rape victims or murder victims’ families to see these hardened criminals treated to a strip show at the Johannesburg Medium B Correctional Centre, a place where they are supposed to be rehabilitated.
The Department of Correctional Services has said it was yet to establish whether the women were strippers or dancers. Either way, having halfnaked women prancing around prison grounds, getting up close and personal with prisoners is far from rehabilitating them. How was that supposed to help prisoners become better people capable of living with others in harmony once they are released?
Visitation rules for prisons are clear: Misbehaviour, such as unbecoming conducts and disturbing others, will immediately lead to the termination of the visit. But in this case, none of the officials on duty during the so-called Youth Month celebrations had the presence of mind to realise that what was unfolding before them was out of order. They just sat there and enjoyed the show, breaching security and policies they are supposed to adhere to.
We hope the department will go beyond just serving the 13 officials with notices of suspension and take a stance so firm that it will change perceptions that Joburg prison is just like “Sun City”, a place for fun and games.
As it is, prisoners have cellphones they use to run their business from inside and are able to access extra luxuries smuggled in by the same officials.