Home News Inmates to appear via camera – visits at facilites suspended

Inmates to appear via camera – visits at facilites suspended

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“No visits will be allowed at correctional centres for the next 30 days.”

INMATES will now appear via camera, where possible, during court appearances while the movement of prisoners between Correctional Services facilities will be controlled to prevent the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The acting deputy regional commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, Gustav Wilson, said yesterday that as a precaution all visits to and from correctional facilities were suspended, in line with the announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night.

“No visits will be allowed at correctional centres for the next 30 days.”

He pointed out that there were currently no identified coronavirus cases at any correctional centre in South Africa.

“The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) wants to ensure that it keeps its facilities coronavirus-free and prevent any associated risks from outside the centres through the implementation of a very clear plan. A comprehensive national mitigation plan for Covid-19 has been developed that focuses on prevention measures for both officials and inmates.”

Wilson stated that the plan outlined measures to be taken when there are suspected cases as well as if confirmed positive cases are detected, as prescribed by the standard operation procedures of the Department of Health and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

“Movements between correctional centres and the courts will be adjusted to ensure that prevention measures are prioritised.”

He indicated that audio visual remand (AVR) facilities would be utilised, where available and functional, to continue with court processes, especially remand detainees.

“The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services is also engaging with the judiciary on a continuous basis to address the issue of court appearances.

“Movement to courts will furthermore be reviewed on a case-to-case basis and where it is of extreme need it may be allowed. However, the prevention measures will be applied, including the sanitising and wearing of protective gear.”

Wilson said the Department of Correctional Services in the Free State/Northern Cape was part of the provincial joint operational centre that was established to deal with Covid-19 matters.

“The department will continuously engage with its partners in the justice and security cluster to source support and assistance.”