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Dept fast-tracking release of inmates as COVID-19 infections in prisons rise

At least 2,280 inmates were released after President Cyril Ramaphosa approved parole for about 19,000 prisoners in an effort to curb the spread of the virus in overcrowded facilities.

FILE: To date, there have been 1,452 confirmed COVID-19 cases in prisons across South Africa. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Department of Correctional Services said it's fast-tracking its efforts to release more inmates as coronavirus infections within prisons continue to rise.

At least 2,280 inmates were released after President Cyril Ramaphosa approved parole for about 19,000 prisoners i n an effort to curb the spread of the virus in overcrowded facilities.

Correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the department was working tirelessly to speed up the release process while ensuring that measures including victim participation and social reintegration programmes are not compromised.

Nxumalo said only low-risk offenders are eligible for the release programme.

“You will not find people who serving sentences for murder or life sentences or any other crimes that are of a violent nature. Our community correctional service officers are there to ensure that they are successfully re-integrated into society and also to monitor them if some of them do transgress their parole conditions.”

To date, there have been 1,452 confirmed COVID-19 cases in prisons across South Africa.

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