Covid-19: Over 2 000 prisoners released: 19 000 more awaiting parole

Covid-19: Over 2 000 prisoners released: 19 000 more awaiting parole

- Over the course of the past month, over 2 000 prisoners were released on parole in SA

- The Department of Correctional Services intends to release around 19 000 more over the next month

- According to the department, none of the prisoners had reoffended following their release

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The Department of Correctional Services says that it has released 2 280 prisoners over the past 30 days.

A TimesLIVE report revealed that 19 000 more would be released in coming days, with none of the prisoners that have been released reoffending.

Spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo explained that the process to release inmates had started in late May.

“The rate of cases considered is expected to increase in the coming weeks The project is scheduled to run over a 10-week period and with placement of qualifying offenders expected to commence from week two to week 10, which is from May 20 2020 to July 17 2020. The schedule provides for placement of qualifying offenders in controllable groups and that vulnerable groups are prioritised."

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Human rights group wants 24 000 more prisoners released

The Department is scrambling to ensure it meets a set target date to release the required amount of prisoners:

“The department is working tirelessly to ensure the target date is met while ensuring that the consideration, victim participation and offering of programmes to qualifying offenders are not compromised."

While Nxumala explained that the 915 confirmed Covid-19 cases in SA prisons did not add pressure to speed up the process, it had resulted in another issue:

“However, the increase in the number of officials and offenders testing positive for Covid-19 has created a stigma against offenders and officials. This is negatively affecting the confirmation of support systems of offenders who are benefiting from the special parole dispensation, in that some families are reluctant to sign for some offenders with fear that upon placement the offenders will infect them." reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa had announced the plan to release prisoners as part of the government's response to the Covid-19 crisis.

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