Are invasive body searches of prison visitors really necessary?

Correctional services officials and members of the public have been “caught in the act” smuggling contraband into prisons, with drugs and cellphones being particularly rife at the St Albans Correctional Centre in Nelson Mandela Bay.

That is according to correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo, responding to reports of invasive body searches.

Weekend Post recently reported that two women visiting at St Albans had been forced to strip naked and endure humiliating internal searches for contraband.

The women said that apart from having to go through a metal detector and enduring pat-downs from guards at the prison in Gqeberha, they were being told to take off their clothes, including their underwear, for the degrading search.

Correctional services confirmed it had introduced the searches — provided for in correctional services procedures — and had found hidden drugs.

“We see there is an outcry, but we want to ensure everyone that it's not like we just wake up and decide that we want to search people in areas where they are uncomfortable,” Nxumalo says on Behind The Herald Headlines with Daron Mann this week.

“It’s because of the [tip-offs] we receive ... Indeed we do find stuff there."

We also speak to a woman who with her friend, Nicole Blignault, recently visited Nicole’s father, perlemoen king Morne Blignault, and says she was subjected to the internal search. 
29 Nov 2023 English South Africa News · Society & Culture

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