The Department of Correctional Services says it is working with police to investigate the circumstances behind some inmates’ access to cell phones and social media.
The investigation followed the distribution of videos on the social media platform TikTok purporting to show inmates dressed in Correctional Services clothing conversing in what seems to be a prison cell.
Their faces are obscured, but messages from internet fans interacting with the inmates via the live feed are visible on the screen.
According to Logan Maistry, a spokesperson for the department, using cell phones in prison is a serious offence.
“The department is aware of some of the videos on social media pages and in these instances, necessary action has been taken against the inmates concerned. Correctional Services is also in liaison with the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies in these investigations to address this matter”.
“Illegal access to and use of cell phones by inmates is a punishable offence and any person including officials, inmates and members of the public found guilty face the consequences of their actions.”
According to Maistry, the department confiscated 536 cell phones between May 31 and June 6.
“Inmates are not allowed to have cellphones as this is contraband which is illegal at a correctional facility. The Department conducts regular planned and unplanned checks and searches in the country’s 243 correctional centres to prevent the smuggling of cell phones and other contraband.”