A newly established Medical Parole Advisory Board has been appointed to look into all seriously and terminally ill inmates who have submitted reports requesting to be released on medical grounds, the Justice, Crime Prevention and Safety (JCPS) Cluster chairperson and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeff Radebe, has announced.
"With a view to strengthen the general policy on parole and correctional supervision, the Correctional Matters Amendment Act provides for a new medical parole policy and correctional supervision.
"It lays the legislative basis for management of Remand Detainees and regulates detention in police cells by stipulating that no inmate may be detained in police cells for a period exceeding seven days," he says.
According to Radebe, the board, to be chaired by Dr Victor Ramathesele with Dr Angelique Coetzee as vice-chairperson, has been appointed with effect from 1 March.
He further said in an effort to deal with overcrowding at correctional facilities and to minimise the possibility of violation of parole conditions, a pilot project on the electronic monitoring of parolees and probationers was implemented on 14 February. The pilot
The pilot involves 150 parolees including 70 convicts who are on life sentences who are on parole.
"This will ensure that certain categories of offenders serve their sentences in the community and thereby contribute to the alleviation of overcrowding in correctional facilities."
The electronic monitoring of parolees and probationers will alleviate challenges of parolees absconding from the system of community corrections while also reducing the risk of recidivism, he said.
"We hope that the strengthening of community corrections will encourage the Judiciary to explore alternative sentencing options making incarceration a last resort," he said.
Correctional Services Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula: The Halfway House will be unveiled on February 24 in Naturena. (Image: GCIS)
Radebe also announced that the Department of Correctional Services will soon launch the first ever inaugural Government-sponsored Halfway House initiative.
This he said is aimed at enabling social reintegration for parolees and ultimately reduces the chances of re-offending.
"Halfway houses will enable Correctional Services to monitor parolees without verifiable residential addresses as part of their parole conditions.
"The Halfway House initiative will be administered by civil society under the supervision of the Department and will allow parolees to seek employment, receive proper orientation in the community and pursue further education and training opportunities in preparation for their eventual full reintegration back into society," he said.
Correctional Services Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the Halfway House will be unveiled on February 24 in Naturena.