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Prisoner remissions will 'relieve overcrowding', be monitored by inspecting judge

18 December 2019 - 08:16 By TimesLIVE
Justice Johann van der Westhuizen says the remission will bring some joy over the festive season, but cannot not be a long-term solution for overcrowding.
Justice Johann van der Westhuizen says the remission will bring some joy over the festive season, but cannot not be a long-term solution for overcrowding.
Image: Allan Swart/123RF

An improvement to overcrowding of prisons was highlighted by the inspecting judge of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS), commenting on the just-announced remission of sentences for certain inmates.

Justice Johann van der Westhuizen said the office of the inspecting judge had been consulted by the minister of justice and correctional services before the announcement.

“This remission will bring some joy over the festive season, as well as relief to the overcrowding challenge that correctional centres face in SA.

“Remission of sentences can, however, not be a long-term solution for overcrowding. Experience has shown that significant numbers of those who were released in the past found themselves back behind bars later. A multipronged approach is necessary to address the unacceptable overcrowding in SA, focusing on the reduction of poverty, moral regeneration, arrest, bail, sentencing, parole and the efficiency of the entire criminal justice system.”

He said his office would assist the department of correctional services with the remission process, as required.

In addition, “it is important that these processes and the criteria for the early release of these inmates are strictly adhered to. JICS will be following these processes closely.”

A report will then be compiled for MPs in parliament's portfolio committee and the minister of justice and correctional services.


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