Ramathesele heads medical parole board

GOVERNMENT has roped in popular medico Victor Ramathesele to lead the medical parole advisory board that will look into the causes of all seriously and terminally ill prisoners applying for parole.

The board is also expected to monitor the movements of dangerous parolees through various means, including an electronic tracking system. The Department of Correctional Services announced yesterday that the board, which starts work on March 1, would be led by Ramathesele as its chairman and Angelique Coetzee as vice-chairperson.

Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe said a pilot project on the electronic monitoring of parolees and probationers to deal with overcrowding in jails and to reduce any violation of parole conditions began last week.

"The pilot involves 150 parolees, including 70 convicts serving life sentences, who are on parole. This will ensure that certain categories of offenders serve their sentences in the community and thereby contribute to the alleviation of overcrowding in correctional facilities," he said.

Radebe said the monitoring of parolees and probationers would alleviate challenges of parolees absconding while also reducing the risk of recidivism.

"We hope that the strengthening of community corrections will encourage the judiciary to explore alternative sentencing options, making incarceration a last resort," he said.

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