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Lamola: Release of prisoners will be in the interest of justice to society

President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the release of just under 19,000 inmates as part of the COVID-19 parole dispensation.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has assured South Africans that the release of thousands of prisoners will be done in the interest of justice to society.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the release of just under 19,000 inmates as part of the COVID-19 parole dispensation.

The provision excludes inmates sentenced to life imprisonment or serving terms for serious crimes, including sexual offences, murder, gender-based violence and child abuse.

There are 172 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at correctional service centres across the country.

Lamola said that when government decided on the release of the thousands of prisoners, it was not oblivious to the concerns of South Africans.

"There will be due processes by the parole boards to further scrutinise whether this person does qualify, on a case-by-case basis and indeed his or her release will be in the interest of justice to society and the victims will also play a role in this regard."

Inmates that will be affected by this decision will continue to serve their sentence under community corrections.

Commissioner for Correctional Services, Arthur Frazer, said that parolees would be monitored.

“We have a clear protocol in terms of monitoring and observing our parolees and where they transgress, they will be recalled.”

Government said the placement of qualifying sentenced offenders would take place over a 10-week period and be carried out after the rehabilitation and pre-release programmes have been concluded.

WATCH: 19,000 prisoners released to curb COVID-19 - Lamola