South African
Medal Website
South African
Honours and Awards
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Updated: May 2006
© Arthur Radburn

Prisons Service Decorations and Medals

From 1922 to 1996, South Africa awarded decorations and medals, for valour, meritorious service, and long service, to members of the prisons services. Nine series of awards were established, all of which are now obsolete.

Prisons Department / SA Prisons Service / Department of Correctional Services - The department had three successive series of awards. The first series (a single medal) was introduced in 1922; it was superseded by a second series in 1968; and that, in turn, was replaced by a third series in 1980. The department used the third series until 1996, when it discontinued all its military trappings and customs and "civilianised".

SWA Prisons Service - The South African-administered territory of South West Africa had its own prisons service. A series of decorations and medals was instituted for the SWAPS in the 1980s, and was used until the service was disbanded in 1989.

Homeland Prisons Services - Five of the ten self-governing African homelands within South Africa had their own prisons services, and each government established its own series of prisons service awards: the Transkei in 1982; Bophuthatswana in 1984; Venda in 1985; the Ciskei in 1988; and KwaZulu in 1990.

The homeland prisons service awards became obsolete when the services were integrated into the Department of Correctional Services following the reincorporation of the homelands into South Africa in 1994.

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