The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Saturday welcomed the government’s decision to grant parole to at least 19,000 inmates in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the release of low-risk offenders to reduce overcrowding at correctional service facilities.
The SAHRC said this was in line with its recent recommendations to the government to improve the conditions of prisoners and guarantee their safety during the global health crisis.
Commissioner Chris Nissen said correctional centres, police station cells, and other detention facilities were severely overcrowded with poor sanitation.
“The overcrowding has contributed towards the violation of the dignity of people… And we are very grateful that at least from this side it will enable the Department of Correctional Services to make sure that they maintain the social distancing and the dignity of people in inside the correctional centres,” he said.