Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BOTSWANA: Overcrowded inmates being circumcised

The Monitor (Botswana)
October 22, 2012

133 prisoners circumcised

By Keobonye Majatsie
The Botswana Prisons Service (BPS) has adopted the Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) programme to reduce the spread of new HIV/AIDS infections.

Speaking at a press briefing, Dr Rachel Seleka revealed that so far 133 inmates have undergone circumcision at their clinics."So far we have at least 133 inmates from Gaborone, Moshupa and Molepolole prisons circumcised since April last year but we have not taken our initiative to the northern part of the country," she said.

Government introduced the SMC programme a few years ago, and there have been calls for the initiative to be extended to other vulnerable groups outside mainstream society. Seleka said they have discovered that inmates take health related issues more seriously when they are incarcerated.

Admitting that sodomy is a sensitive issue Prisons chief, Motlalekgosi acknowledged that there is sodomy in Botswana prisons. "We know that sodomy is illegal in Botswana but it happens in our prisons, how we don't know. If it can happen in mainstream society, what about in places like prisons? I don't have evidence to say it's not happening but we have heard stories narrated by ex-inmates," he said. ...
He also decried overcrowding in prisons. Currently there are 3,048 local male convicts and 435 foreign male inmates, 60 female citizen convicts and 14 female foreign convicts. There are 634 remanded local males, 303 foreign males, 15 local females and 11 foreign females. Motlalekgosi said these figures represent 15.2 percent overcrowding.


On other issues, Motlalekgosi revealed that they have banned smoking in all their prison facilities to curb drug smuggling in prisons. ...

[So let's see. They've circumcised men in overcrowded prisons where they know men are having sex together, and while no study suggests circumcision protects against male-to-male HIV transmission, one does suggest that sex too soon after the operation is a risk factor ... the men who can't smoke will get restless, and no mention of condoms ... What is wrong with this picture?]

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