President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the release on parole of just under 19,000 prisoners as part of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in prisons. Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola briefed the country on some of the measures the department is taking to reduce the spread of infection in prisons and effect the parole system.
Lamola acknowledged that the special remission has reduced overcrowded conditions but said the state is still facing a high percentage of overcrowding. We have a total of 157,208 inmates, whereas our accommodation capacity is 118,572. This number includes a total of 56,536 inmates who are in remand detention. This means our accommodation capacity is exceeded by 38.636 inmates,” the minister said.
Lamola said placement on the special parole will be decided by parole boards and will only be eligible for low-risk offenders. It will be done in phases and the most vulnerable, such as those with underlying health problems, inmates over 60 years old and women with infants will be prioritised. They will be considered on a case-by-case basis and those who qualify will be placed on parole after all the due processes including Victim-Offender Dialogues have been completed.
The process will include a comprehensive screening process for inmates including but not limited to, taking of their fingerprints and DNA samples by SAPS and soliciting inputs from departmental social workers and criminologists. Coronavirus Hotline Number: 0800 029 999 from 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday Help protect your loved ones by sharing this official South African government COVID-19 service with your family, friends and community.
Send HI to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp. The NICD has another Clinician Hotline to improve #COVID19 communication and support for healthcare providers. The Clinician Hotline is 0800 11 1131, operating 24 hrs. The Public Hotline is 0800 029 999 also operating 24hrs.
In other news – This is what to expect from level 3 lockdown rules
South Africa recently ended a strict five-week lockdown after the country moved to level 4 under the new 5-level COVID-19 alert system. While the country is still under national lockdown, a few of the most stringent rules were lifted. Certain people may return to work and jogging, cycling, and walking is now allowed between 06:00 and 09:00.
Retail stores are also allowed to sell more items. A few noteworthy additions to the list are winter clothing, ICT equipment, and hardware goods. The new regulations were welcomed, but many people and businesses feel more needs to be done. The ban on alcohol and cigarette sales has been criticized for encouraging their illicit trade and for costing the country a lot of money in lost tax revenue. Read more