By Nonduduzo Kunene | 2019-03-13
His Majesty’s Correctional Services is expected to free 1 000 inmates before they even complete their sentences.
Due to high operational costs and despite that in the past the service had embarked on different cost cutting operations, these were futile as the number of inmates soared daily.
Firstly, the service was counted as one of the organisations that owed electricty. Secondly, Commissioner General Mzuthini Ntshangase said last week the service was facing difficulties in providing inmates with enough food because even their gardens were not capable of feeding all inmates. In December last year, the service commissioned water rationing in an attempt to reduce costs.
However, all the above cost cutting measures were not effective. The department is expected to free 600 to 1 000 inmates in various correctional centres in the country. However, there is a criteria to be considered when freeing the inmates. Inmates would be released on five options, which are parole, extramural activities, community service, care free orders and probation. HMCS Deputy Public Relations Officer Mandla Sibiya said a lot would be considered for each inmate to be released by an elected board.
“Before the parole, the board would scrutinise various reformation programmes that the inmates went through. Their behaviour would be monitored from the day they entered the facility. They will be monitored if they responded positively to rehabilitation programmes provided by HMCS,” he said.
Sibiya said it was worth mentioning that all the criteria are from Section 100 of the Correctional Act which states that “an offender shall be eligible for parole from HMCS on parole if that offender has served a determined term of imprisonment of not less than four years whether consisting of a single punishment or running concurrently or conservatively”
Those who will be released on curfew orders, their release would be determined by magistrates.
Sibiya said through these early releases, HMCS would save a lot of money that was otherwise spent on food and utilities.
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