21 November 2012

South Africa: Review of Sentences Can Relieve Overcrowding

press release

Awaiting trial inmates and petty thieves have been identified by the IFP as the main reason for overcrowding in prisons and the party wants a review of sentencing to be conducted.

IFP Spokesperson on Correctional Services, Mr Velaphi Ndlovu said "The issue of overcrowding in South African jails needs to be dealt with urgently. People who have committed petty crimes such as stealing bread or apples to feed themselves should not be sent to jail for six months. People who cannot afford to pay their bail which is less than R1000 should be released into the custody of their relatives pending court proceedings"

The party also wants prisoners who have served long term jail (who are lifers) and have gone through rehabilitation to be released into the care of their families.

"Those prisoners who are sentenced to more than 25 years or more should be released to their families after they have finished their sentences because they would have changed over time and they can still be monitored on the outside. If they are found to have engaged in any other criminal activity then they will be rearrested. These are ideas that the department of Correctional Services needs to look into it in order to solve the over-crowding problem" said Ndlovu.

The IFP also wants the victims of those serving long term jail to be engaged in the process and for them to understand why the prisoners are being released and be monitored in their place where they will be. This is to curb any attempts to take the law into their own hands because they perceive this as an injustice. Members of the community where the released prisoners will stay would also play a crucial role in the monitoring process so that they are also involved.

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