Remission of sentences no long-term cure for overcrowding, inspecting judge says
Fix should focus on cutting poverty‚ moral regeneration‚ arrest‚ bail‚ sentencing‚ parole and efficiency of criminal justice system
The just-announced remission of sentences for certain inmates will reduce prison overcrowding in the short term, but more should be done to fix the problem, the inspecting judge of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (Jics) says.
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 & correctional services.