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South Africa: President Zuma reduce jail overcrowding from 34% to 20%, by releasing 35,000 offenders, starting May.

African Security News - President Jacob Zuma

Saturday, Pretoria.- Around 35 400 criminals could be released, depending on an assessment, after President Jacob Zuma announced a special remission of sentence, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said.

“The special remission… will see all sentenced inmates, probationers and parolees granted a six month remission of sentence… and an additional 12 months,” he told a media briefing in Pretoria.

“This will reduce the level of jail overcrowding in Correctional Centres from 34% to approximately 20%.”

It is estimated that around 20 800 probationers and parolees, and 14 600 sentenced inmates could be released in terms of an assessment process.

“The completion of a compulsory pre-release assessment and the attendance of… the programme is a prerequisite before the conditional or unconditional release of offenders can take place,” explained Mthethwa to media.

Criminals who qualify can only be released starting from May 14 this year in so called “controllable groups”.

South African President Jacob Zuma announced on Friday that his administration would grant a special remission of sentence to specific categories of sentenced offenders, probationers and parolees.

Nathi Emmanuel Nkosinathi Mthethwa, Minister of South African Police Service

In South Africa the government said that granting of special remissions is governed by “placing safety first and promoting shared responsibility for the correction of offending behaviour and rehabilitation”, Mthethwa said.

Mthethwa said President Zuma had ensured that the process would be a fair non-discriminatory and transparent one where certain categories of prisoners would be excluded from aspects of the proposed remission.