Memories of the ‘inside’: Prison conditions in South African female correctional facilities

  • Caroline Abgoola
Keywords: Correctional facilities, female ex-prisoners, female prisoners, incarceration, prison, prison conditions, South Africa


The inadequate conditions of imprisonment in South African correctional facilities are well known. Health care, sanitation, food provision, access to education and reading materials, and in particular, the overcrowding, of female prisons are considerable challenges faced by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) regarding the incarceration of female prisoners[i]. A retrospective view of the conditions under which female inmates in South African correctional facilities are incarcerated is examined in this paper. Findings indicate that prison conditions in some South African female correctional facilities are poor: health care and sanitation facilities are largely inadequate, the quality of food is poor, little or no reading materials are made available, and recreational facilities are largely absent. These conditions impact negatively on the female prisoners during, and sometimes, after their incarceration.
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