The Department of Correctional Services says it is fast-tracking its efforts to release more inmates as the number of coronavirus infections in prisons continues to rise.
Since the authorisation in May by President Cyril Ramaphosa to parole 19000 inmates in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 behind bars, at least 2280 of these parolees have been released.
Correctional Services spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, says the department was hard at work to speed up the release process while ensuring that measures, including victim participation and social reintegration programmes, were not in any way compromised.
Nxumalo says inmates eligible for release were those who are considered to be low-risk offenders.
He says, “You will not find people released who may have committed murders, serving life sentences or who may have any other crimes which are considered to be violent in nature. Our Correctional Services officials are also there to reintegrate them into society and also to monitor them in case some do regress on their parole conditions.”
To date, there have been 1,452 confirmed COVID-19 cases in prisons across South Africa.