The South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (Sapohr) called for the use of cellphones in prisons to be permitted after a total of 293 mobile phones were reportedly confiscated at two respective KwaZulu-Natal prisons.
According to IOL, Sapohr president Miles Bhudu stated that: “There is just no stopping these gadgets entering prisons. About 20 years ago, this was a problem in America. At that time, authorities there kept trying to ban cellphones until they accepted defeat. They ended up conceding and legalising the use of cellphones in prisons.”
The seizure of these cellphones suggests that the current ban is ineffective, with Bhudu reportedly adding that inmates can be monitored if cellphones are legalised in South African prisons, and should be treated like human beings.
KZN Correctional Services spokesperson, Thulani Mdluli said that it’s very common for cellphones to illegally enter South Africa’s prisons but added that the department and law enforcement agencies are constantly fighting against it, IOL reports.
“We have discovered each time cellphones are confiscated that there are members of the public and some of our own officials who are involved in the illegal practice, and have in some cases been able to trace and arrest our own staff and members of the public,” said Mdluli.
He took an opposing view to Bhudu’s earlier statement, saying that the rights and privileges of inmates needs to be limited while they are rehabilitating.