Tags: safrica | inmate | abuse | uk

Inmate Abuse Alleged at SAfrica Prison Run by UK Firm

By Joel Himelfarb   |   Monday, 28 Oct 2013 07:55 AM

Inmates, guards, and healthcare workers allege that a South African prison run by G4S, a British security firm, has used electric shock treatment and forcibly medicated inmates, the Guardian reported.
The report comes several weeks after the South African government took over operations at the Mangaung Correctional Center from G4S following a wave of violence that included, riots, stabbings, and a hostage-taking incident.
Explaining its decision to seize control, authorities said the company had "lost effective control over the prison."
The latest allegations follow a year-long investigation by the Wits Justice Project — part of the journalism department of the University of Witwatersrand — which found videos of what was apparently forced medication of prisoners at the Bloemfontein-area prison. 
A hospital staff member claimed the medications included Risperdal and other anti-psychotic drugs linked to strokes, memory loss, and other serious side effects, according to the Guardian.
Fourteen recently dismissed members of the prison’s Emergency Security Team (EST) said that as many as five times a week they would restrain inmates to enable them to be forcibly medicated.
The EST members said they had no idea what the inmates — many of whom had psychiatric problems or were behaving aggressively — had been injected with.
An anonymous former G4S employee said electric shields were necessary because he and his colleagues were understaffed and outnumbered by dangerous prisoners.
"We went overboard,” he told the BBC.
But prison management “was very happy with the results” and on many occasions, the extraordinary measures to subdue inmates occurred in their presence, the former employee said.
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