10 things to know about parole in South Africa

  1. Parole or being put under correctional supervision is not a right, according to the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) – it needs to be earned by the offender.
  2. The Correctional Services Act stipulates that any offender sentenced after October 1, 2004, must be considered for placement on parole after serving half their sentence.
  3. The DCS says this is an automatic process which means that an offender does not have to apply to be considered for parole.
  4. The former minister of Correctional Services, Sbu Ndebele wrote about parole statistics for 2013/2014 in The Star on March 24, 2014. A graphic representation of these figures (below) shows that almost three-quarters of all detainees who are under correctional supervision are on parole.

Breakdown of Correctional Supervision

  1. According to the DCS parole pamphlet:
  • Offenders on parole are closely monitored, and those who are electronically monitored can be tracked.
  • Six months before the offender has completed his minimum sentence the Case Management Committee (CMC) will start the process on behalf of the offender. The CMC will activate the process and assemble a report known as a G326 which will be submitted to the Parole Board with their recommendations.
  1. 3 827 parole applications were approved monthly in 2014, according to a report in The Star on March 24, 2014.
  2. For offenders serving a life sentence, the Minster of Justice and Correctional Services makes the final decision on whether to grant parole or not.
  3. Parole is not the end of a sentence, but an offender serves the remainder of their sentence under supervision within the community.
  4. The Correctional Matters Amendment Act of 2011 states that a prisoner may be considered for medical parole if he or she is “terminally ill or physically incapacitated as a result of injury, disease or illness, so as to severely limit daily activity or inmate self-care”.
  5. To be considered for medical parole the offender doesn’t have to complete a minimum sentence but does need a recommendation from a medical practitioner. The decision for placement on medical parole can only be taken if medical parole has been recommended by of the Medical Advisory Board. This is applicable to all sentenced offenders irrespective of the date of sentence.

 

Read more about parole in previous articles by the Wits Justice Project:

Selebi’s medical parole: a promising precedent? Business Day, August 1, 2012.

The losing battle against TB in prisons, the Daily Maverick, July 1, 2013.

Selebi spotted shopping sparks renewed medical parole debate, October 7, 2013.

Related readings:

Correctional Supervision and Parole Board

The DCS annual report for 2013/2014

 

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About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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