The Justice Minister is finally addressing issues within the Western Cape prisons that have led to so many inmates receiving parole despite having committed serious crimes.
Residents across the Cape were filled with anger and shock at the justice system and the number of criminals who make it back onto the streets after having committed heinous crimes only to commit those same crimes against others.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola met with Western Cape prison officials on Wednesday, March 4 to address the issues that have been leading to inmates legally making their way out of prisons.
Many feel the country’s parole system needs a serious review and it seems that the review is now on the cards following yesterday’s meeting.
A number of meetings have been scheduled for coming months, the first dealing with two major problems, namely comprehensive information available on the parolee and whom victims are engaged with.
Main issues mentioned include a lack of victim engagement or consultation when the parolee is released, this has reportedly not been happening consistently over the past few years.
“In terms of our policy, before a parolee is released to society, there should be some kind of victim engagement. In certain instances the decisions are taken by the Parole Board to release the parolee without a consultation. We are looking at why there should be such a loophole because the policy is clear,” said Lamola to CapeTalk.
Paired with this, the issue of a lack of information on the parolee is also significant as the Parole Board makes decisions based on very little information available. While the board is aware of the previous convictions of the person in question they are often not aware of the circumstances of the victims related to the criminal as well as the circumstances surrounding the details of the crimes committed.
Lamola says these issues and more will be addressed and changes will be made immediately to improve the current system so no more women and children have to die.
Other issues that will be addressed include notifying the community or neighbours when a prisoner is released as well as how the department and officials can better monitor those who are released.