Reducing prison violence: implications from the literature for South Africa
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In the past 15 years the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has faced numerous challenges whilst trying to re‐invent itself. This has not been an easy road and in many regards the route to penetrative transformation has been beleaguered with distractions; many of them the Department’s own making. Amongst all the strategic objectives towards transformation and the distractions, the most important objective of any correctional system may have lost focus, namely to detain prisoners under safe and humane conditions. This, very explicitly, means that individuals, when imprisoned, must not only be safe but they must also feel safe. Regrettably this is not the case and thus the need for this paper to take a closer look at violence in South Africa’s prison system. This is done by reviewing the literature on prison violence to gain a deeper understanding of the problem and also to establish whether there have been any effective measures implemented elsewhere to reduce prison violence. Based on these a number of recommendations are made to improve prison safety in South Africa.