As part of the 25 years of democracy, the Department of Correctional Services will institute a special remission of sentences to inmates serving sentences of twelve months and beyond as of the 16th of December 2019. This was announced by the office of the president.
Thankfully, those not qualifying for the special remission, include sexual offenders, murderers, armed robbers and those considered dangerous criminals in line with section 286 (A) of the Criminal Procedures Act, Act 51 of 1977.
This was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa and collaborated by the Minister of Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola on Tuesday at Bergville and Pretoria respectively. The special remission of twelve months would affect prisoners who are duly on probation, paroles and the low risk offenders. The process does not include offenders who have not yet been incarcerated and those who were declared dangerous by the courts.
Shortly thereafter, while addressing members of the media, correctional services minister, Ronald Lamola, said “this will assist offenders with the problem of alienation from their communities because as the department they are committed to create safer communities by correcting and rehabilitating offenders before releasing them to utilise some skills they acquired while in jail”.
Lamola said that it was the first time a president has issued special remission for prisoners who are in prisons. He said there are various ways in which prisoners could be pardoned namely, parole, sentences that have been served halfway, remission of sentence where the sentence is cut, medical parole as determined by the department and presidential pardon also issued by the President.
He said that the prison population, though overcrowded, currently stands at 244 000 and the number of inmates to be affected stands at 14 000. Women and people with disabilities would be the first to be released.
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