63 240 criminals serving time outside prison

Of this number, 48 323 were out on parole, and 14 917 were probationers (convicted offenders serving non-custodial sentences), Correctional Services Minister Sbu Ndebele said in a statement.

He called on the public to help re-integrate paroled and released offenders into society as law-abiding citizens.

"As corrections is a societal responsibility, and not just the responsibility of the department of correctional services (DCS), the community forms an integral part of the rehabilitation of offenders on parole to reintegrate them as law-abiding citizens."

Ndebele said the department played its role in attempting to prepare offenders for a life back in the community.

"Measures in place to ensure that released offenders comply with their parole conditions include house detention, monitoring, performance of community service, restriction to magisterial district, refraining from the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, refraining from making contact with a particular person(s), and participating in treatment, development and support programmes," he said.

Electronic monitoring devices and regular visits from parole officers were also used.

"One standard condition is that offenders on parole may not commit any crime, and, if they do, they will return to a correctional centre," said Ndebele.

Convicted offenders needed to undergo rehabilitation programmes while in jail to qualify for parole, Ndebele said. South Africa currently has around 152 550 people behind bars.

Every month about 23 000 inmates leave prisons while 25 000 new inmates are admitted, the department said. – Sapa


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