The violation of the black South African Human rights during the apartheid years was quite sever in when it came to prisoners.Political prisoners, black and white prisoners treatment during the imprisonment varied quite dramatically. Since the Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the new SA what changes have taken place?We explore the history and current situation of prisoners in South Africa
Violation of human rights of prisoners right in apartheid South Africa reflects all the expected attributes of tribal discrimination,capitalist abuse and slavery. Under the then governement life was made difficult for black people those behind bars and those who were not incancerated. Black males were taken away from their families; the system created a major supplier of unskilled black labour for the mines, these males were called “Umalayisha”. Black female did not fare any better who worked as forced to work minial jobs as domestics and were at times exploited for sex by the employers.Those were the conditions of those living out of prison.
Behind bars, the apartheid government had a strict and an almost militaristic control of prison.Political prisoners and "common" prisoners were treated very differently. Black male political prisoners were kept on Robben Island, while black women were kept in Kroonstad prison from the1948's.
During the 1950s, the treatment of prisoners reflected the pro-apartheid system, Black and white prisoners were thus separated from one another and received different treatment.This went as far as clothing, food and access to friends and family.
Black political prisoners were seen as Terrorist and thus treated harshly, prisoners, were subjected to gross violations of human rights such as, right to life, right to education, right to work to mentions the few.These included torture , with many prisoners dying in polce custody or in prison, the apartheid system did not respect the dignity of prisoners one well known story is that of the robben island prisoners who were forced to defcte in the same whole that they ate their meals.
Elimination of the apartheid system laws brought a whole new set of rights for prisoners based on the violtaions that took place in the apartheid years.The new prisoner system seeks to do the following ; promote improved prison governance; promote greater use of non-custodial sentencing as a mechanism for reducing overcrowding in prisons; and reducing the rate of repeat offenders through improved re-integration programs.