South Africa has released 4,138 prisoners as part of the country’s easing on lockdown restrictions through social distancing in prisons, APA learnt on Wednesday.According to Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola, the parolees were low risk offenders freed to ease congestion in the country’s overcrowded prisons as part of the Covid-19 prevention measures.
“Yes, minimum progress has been made due to the processes to be followed when releasing sentenced offenders on parole.
“On 11 May 2020 the ministry began with the process to release selected low risk offenders, and initial releases started from 20 May 2020.
“As of 24 June 2020, the total number offenders released was 4,138,” the minister said.
The development comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa approved the parole of 19,000 low risk offenders in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country’s congested prisons.
As of 30 June 2020, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Ministry of Correctional Services itself stood at 2,424 cases, comprising 1,193 officials, and 1,231 inmates.
There are 705 active cases, the office said.