COVID-19: About 19 000 low-risk inmates could be released, says Lamola

COVID-19: About 19 000 low-risk inmates could be released, says Lamola

About 19 000 low-risk inmates in prisons around South Africa could be released early on parole due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ronald Lamola
Phot Cred: GCIS

Making the announcement in Pretoria on Friday, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said the move was informed by the fact that the virus spreads rapidly in closed spaces.

He said the country's prisons are holding more than 157 00 inmates - which is over 38 000 more than capacity allows.

"The current process entails bringing forward the period of offenders’ date of consideration of parole placement, and it does not alter the sentence that inmates receives. 

"All the inmates placed on community corrections are expected to abide by conditions that parole boards will impose upon them. In our context, awaiting trial detainees contribute significantly to overcrowding," he said.

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He added: "Our analysis at this stage has revealed that a considerable number of awaiting trial detainees find themselves incarcerated because of their socio-economic conditions. 

"There are 5000 inmates who are currently in detention due to their inability to post bail. We are looking at intervention measures that could be implemented for these inmates working together with all relevant stakeholders."

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