#CoronavirusSA: Overcrowded prisons still a concern

The Citizen
Overcrowding remains a great cause of concern in prisons amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is according to the Department of Justice and Correctional Services.

Addressing the media over the state of prisons in the Eastern Cape and countrywide, Deputy Minister, Patekile Holomisa, said overcrowding in prisons is still a major problem despite more than 12 000 inmates having been granted parole.

OFM News reports that his statement comes months after Minister Ronald Lamola assured the public that all measures were put in place to ensure that Correctional Services’ personnel are not over-burdened by the number of parolees they have to monitor outside their facilities.

OFM News in August reported that Lamola, in a parliamentary response to the Democratic Alliance (DA), said they were still working on the release of 19 000 inmates’ special parole dispensation in efforts to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

By August a total of 634 inmates had already been released in the Free State and the Northern Cape as part of the special parole dispensation to curb the spread of the coronavirus in correctional facilities.

Whilst Lamola had confirmed significant progress was made regarding the release of inmates in these provinces and others, Holomisa says the number of inmates in prisons is still a concern as there needs to be physical distancing.

He says the department is working on plans to build more correctional facilities.