GEORGE NEWS - Between 26 and 31 December 2019, 53 offenders have been released from George Correctional Services. This forms part of the Presidential Pardon that was granted by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 16 December.
This seldom-exercised presidential power saw some offenders having their sentences reduced drastically.
However, the pardons and remissions exclude offenders sentenced for sexual offences, murder and attempted murder, armed robbery, mentally ill sedition, high treason, sabotage and terrorism.
According to Logan Maistry, Deputy Commissioner of Communications at the Department of Correctional Services, offenders were released in line with the relevant qualifying criteria, having reached their sentence expiry dates.
"The criteria for release were outlined by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, at a media briefing on 16 December. Their releases are approved, monitored and evaluated by the incarceration and corrections branch at the head office of the department," said Maistry.
A document containing the criteria for release can be read here:
Remissions Sentence Speech by Minister Ronald Lamola on 16 December 2019
Maistry also added that all inmates in question were classified as low-risk offenders.
"The majority of releases pertained to sentences of imprisonment of up to three years, with the exception of a few offenders who were serving sentences of between five and seven years but were eligible for parole having served their minimum detention period," he said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa approved the release of 14 647 offenders on pardons and remissions countrywide.
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