New parole framework

2012-02-19 22:19

Pretoria - A newly-established parole board, consisting of medical practitioners, has been mandated to independently review all applications for medical parole, the department of correctional services said on Sunday.

It would be chaired by Dr Victor Ramathesele and would "look into all seriously and terminally ill inmates who had requested release on medical grounds", said Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The Correctional Matters Amendment Act required a doctor to thoroughly motivate why a prisoner should be considered for medical parole.

This was then submitted to the "independent panel of medical practitioners for approval", after which the parole board would make an informed decision.

The new framework comes into effect on March 1.

Nqakula was speaking at a justice, crime prevention and security cluster briefing on strategic and tactical interventions developed to improve public safety, in line with President Jacob Zuma's commitment in his state of the nation address.

Public, family

She said that under the new framework, a member of the public, the concerned inmate or a family member could initiate the process of seeking medical parole.

"The [former national police commissioner] Jackie Selebi case was a talking point in the media. That request, made by a group [calling itself "Friends of Jackie Selebi"], could not be accepted under the current legislation.

"I responded to that application in terms of current law. That application can be made under a new framework in March," she said.

Selebi was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for corruption after accepting payments from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti, but appealed the conviction.

He had to be taken to hospital when he saw on television that his appeal had been denied.

Current legislation dictates that only a doctor treating an offender can recommend medical parole, which is why the "Friends of Jackie Selebi" application was thrown out.

"We should not trivialise this matter of parole. We have people who are critically ill in our centres," said Nqakula.

Electronic monitoring

"I know that when people hear about new parole provisions they think we are opening floodgates and letting people walk out. We are talking about extremely sick people here," she said.

"There will be people, with immediate effect, who will have to be considered for parole. The new framework doesn't mean when you are HIV positive and your CD4 count is low or if you have [tuberculosis] TB you will be let out. We give antiretroviral drugs and the CD4 picks up."

Nqakula said her department would also implement the use of electronic monitoring on parolees and probationers.

"This project involves 150 parolees, including 70 convicts on life sentences who are on parole.

"The aim here is to deal with overcrowding at correctional facilities and to minimise the possibility of violation of set parole conditions," she said.

There would also be new provisions for the parolees who will be monitored electronically.

"We would want to allow them to go out and look for employment and work then come home. We are able to monitor, on our system, their movements and we will also know if they are leaving the physical area we allowed them," she said.

The pilot project would cost R6m this year, but the minister said she did not know the costs of future projects.

Read more on:    nosiviwe mapisa nqakula  |  prisons

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

How much food do you need to concentrate?

We have been taught that we need three meals a day in order to make it through the day and while most of us indulge in more than our fair share there is a large portion of South Africans who are living off barely enough to sustain them.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.