Solution needed for overcrowded prisons - minister

2016-03-15 14:44

Cape Town - Around 166 000 people are being held in prisons around South Africa that are only equipped for about 120 000 people, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on Tuesday.

Of those, the country's 243 jails are holding around 44 000 remand prisoners, he told Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accountability.

About 15% of the remand prisoners are behind bars waiting for their next appearance only because they cannot afford the bail of R500 or R1 000.

''They are only there because of poverty, but consequently it is eating into our budget,'' said Masutha, adding most of the remand prisoners are there because of delays in their cases.

He urged the commissioner of correctional services and the National Prosecuting Authority to find ways of better managing the criminal justice system.

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