COVID-19: Under 19,000 prisoners to be released on parole

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    An inmate stands by a window at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre also known as Sun City Prison, South Africa, on April 8, 2020. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP)

    AFP

    JOHANNESBURG – Just under 19,000 prisoners will be released on parole as part of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.

    President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the release of inmates from areas that are at high risk of COVID-19.

    The parole only applies to low-risk prisoners who would’ve applied for parole in the last five years.

    Parolees will serve the remainder of their sentences under Community Corrections.

    “The President has taken this step in response to a call by the United Nations to all countries to reduce prison populations so that social distancing and self-isolation conditions can be observed during this period,” the Presidency said in a statement.

    According to the Presidency, the parole dispensation will apply to low-risk inmates who have passed their minimum detention period or will approach this period in the coming five years.

    “This dispensation excludes inmates sentenced to life imprisonment or serving terms for specified other serious crimes, including sexual offences, murder and attempted murder, gender-based violence and child abuse.”

    South Africa has 8,232 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 161 deaths.

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    Source:eNCA