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News Alert: S.Africa: Thousands of Prisoners to be set free (again)

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  • pbs@iafrica.com
    From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org [I have lost count long ago of how many prisoners the ANC has set free during its ten years of rule. Most of us hate this. They
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2005
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      From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org
      [I have lost count long ago of how many prisoners the ANC has set free
      during its ten years of rule. Most of us hate this. They claim the
      prisons are too full - and yet experience has shown that setting them
      free only brings on more crime. I have long said this is Government of
      ours loves crime and loves criminals. Jan]

      THOUSANDS of prisoners will be released from prisons in three weeks' time
      as the correctional services department begins implementing special
      remission of sentences, Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour
      said yesterday in Cape Town.

      There will be remission of up to 20 months of a prisoner's sentence
      depending on the crime committed.

      The remission of sentences will help reduce the country's prison
      population of 180000, housed in prisons built to accommodate 114000.

      Under the amnesty announced by Balfour yesterday, six months' remission
      of sentence will be granted to prisoners, including those on parole,
      irrespective of the crime.

      An extra 14 months will be granted to those guilty of crimes other than
      violent crimes, which include murder, robbery, domestic violence and
      sexual abuse.

      Balfour said the first two weeks would be put aside for administrative
      work and for counting and identifying offenders who qualified for
      remission.

      Spokesman Manelisi Wolela said women, youths, children, people older than
      65 and the disabled would be the first to be released, from June 13.

      "The only people to be released during the first two weeks are those
      serving their sentences under correctional supervision in community
      corrections, to create space for those to be released from the third week
      onwards from correctional centres to community corrections," Wolela
      said.

      The Democratic Alliance (DA) said the across-the-board remission sent out
      the wrong message.

      "It undermines the deterrence of imprisonment, it trivialises the
      sentences of courts and it is a slap in the face for the hundreds of
      thousands of victims of crime in SA," the DA's James Selfe said.

      He accused Balfour of emptying prisons to make room for awaiting-trial
      suspects.

      "The presence of 51000 awaiting-trial detainees in our prisons (roughly
      30% of the total number of inmates) is the real problem that government
      steadfastly refuses to solve," said Selfe.

      Source: AllAfrica.Com
      URL: http://allafrica.com/stories/200506020626.html
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