REDUCED: Pollsmoor

Last December, a judge at the Cape High Court ordered that overcrowding at the notorious jail be reduced by a massive 120 percent.

The Tokai-based prison started turning bandiete away to reduce the overcrowding.

Detainee prisoners were ordered to remain either in police holding cells or at court holding cells, while most sentenced offenders had to be transferred to jails outside the Western Cape.

Yesterday Department of Correctional Services (DCS) regional commissioner, Delekile Klaas, said they were happy to announce that overcrowding has now been reduced by 148 percent.

He said the “dramatic” reduction was due to teamwork, diligence, dedication and commitment, and said the 148 percent reduction was “a milestone achieved for the first time since 2005”.

They will now strive to keep the prison population to under 150 percent as per the court order.

Last month the department briefed the portfolio committee about progress that was being made at Pollsmoor.

The Remand Detention facility, which was built to accommodate 1 619 offenders, had an occupancy rate of 251 percent (4 066) at the time of the High Court ruling.

This number has now been reduced to 148 percent as at 26 May.

The department said one of the main external factors that has contributed to Pollsmoor’s disastrous overcrowding is the large number of courts around the Cape Metro that it feeds.

Inevitably, a number of services, such as Sentence Planning and Offender Rehabilitation Programme (ORP) inside the centre were compromised.