BFF-38 S.Africa to release 19,000 prisoners to curb virus spread

473

ZCZC

BFF-38

HEALTH-VIRUS-SAFRICA

S.Africa to release 19,000 prisoners to curb virus spread

JOHANNESBURG, May 8, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – South Africa on Friday placed around
12 percent of its prison population on parole to combat the spread of
coronavirus in correctional facilities, the presidency said.

At least 172 inmates and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 so far,
raising concern prisons could turn into infection hot spots.

South Africa’s Eastern Cape province is the worst affected, with 102
confirmed cases and two deaths.

Another death is under investigation in the Western Cape.

President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the temporary release of certain
inmates following a call by the United Nations to reduce prison populations
worldwide in order to limit the spread of coronavirus.

“The decision taken by the President to combat the spread of Covid-19 in
correctional centres could relieve correctional services facilities of just
under 19,000 inmates out of a population of 155,000,” said a statement by the
presidency on Friday.

The parole will only apply to “low-risk” inmates.

It excludes those sentenced to life imprisonment or serving terms for
serious crimes such as murder and sexual offences.

The selection and placement of qualifying offenders will take place over a
10-week period.

To date South Africa has recorded 8,232 cases of coronavirus, including
161 deaths.

BSS/AFP/MRU/2100hrs