PRESENTATION ON CORRECTIONAL MATTERS AMENDMENT BILL-2010
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS The Bill seeks to improve the administration of 3 key areas of corrections, namely: • Strengthen the parole system in general; • Provide for a new medical parole system; and • Provide further for the management of remand detainees.
PAROLE SYSTEM • The Bill repeals all provisions referring to the development of an incarceration framework and instead addresses short comings with the functioning of the parole system within the framework of the existing Act. • Incarceration framework not workable for the following reasons: a) The development of a third parole system in SA is highly undesirable and unworkable;
PAROLE CONT. b) Questions raised as to the legal standing of the process set out for the adoption of the proposed incarceration framework; and c) No version of an incarceration framework could practically achieve the desired outcomes stipulated.
NEW MEDICAL PAROLE SYSTEM • Section 79 of the Act currently limits the granting of medical parole to sentenced offenders who are in the final phase of a terminal illness. • Medical practitioners are reluctant to recommend placement on medical parole within this limited definition. Reluctance can also be attributed to media and societal pressures associated with such recommendations, since 60% of inmates do not pass away after placement on medical parole.
MEDICAL PAROLE CONT. • As a result many seriously ill or similarly incapacitated inmates currently do not qualify for medical parole. • The Department also records a high number of natural deaths each year. • This scenario puts serious pressure on already limited financial and human resources required to meet the health care needs of inmates.
MEDICAL PAROLE CONT. • The Bill introduces a new medical parole system, which aims to balance the medical condition of the inmate against the risk posed to society should such inmate be placed on medical parole. • Three factors must be present to qualify for consideration for placement on medical parole: 1) Inmate should suffer from a terminal illness or be rendered physically incapacitated as a result of injury, disease or illness so as to severely limit daily activity or inmate self-care; and
MEDICAL PAROLE CONT. 2) the risk of re-offending must be low; and 3) there must be appropriate arrangements for the inmate’s supervision, care and treatment upon release. • Medical parole is not to be cancelled simply because of a change in an offender’s medical condition. But, the usual provisions on the cancellation of parole are equally applicable here, such as the violation of the conditions of community corrections.
REMAND DETAINEES • Draft White Paper on Remand Detention: Existing policy framework remains valid albeit with material gaps and misalignments. The Criminal Procedure Act, No. 51 of 1977 and the Extradition Act, No. 67 of 1962 render the concepts awaiting trial detainees, pre-trial detainees and un-sentenced offenders inappropriate. The proper definition of the function is remand detention and remand detainees.
REMAND DETAINEES One area requiring improvement is admissions and releases of remand detainees Important for logistical and risk management reasons Re actual detention, need enabling instrument to: • Keep high risk remand detainees (RDs) in special designated high risk facilities • Proper classification (profile) of RD by category of offences at admission, to allow identification of special detention facilities • Provide RDs with distinct clothing • Criminalise identity swapping • Improve the management of information
REMAND DETAINEES CONT. • Improve surrender of RDs to the police for further investigations • Improve services for RDs with disabilities and the aged • Avail redress measures provided in sec. 28 of the CJA to all children in detention • Provide a maximum period for remand detention subject to conditions • Enable release of RDs on account of health/ medical conditions • Enable inquiries and penalties incidental to minor infractions to proscribe once remand detention ends • Enable RDs to be provided with awareness programmes against crime and on opportunities provided by the state
REMAND DETAINEES CONT. Need careful management of overlaps remand detention has with national security Need significant investments on infrastructure and other enabling resources, including training and development Need proper and formal mechanisms for closing files on RDs Need protocols with all material stakeholders