Complainants/ Victims of Crime
Correctional Supervision and Parole Boards
What is parole?
Parole is an internationally accepted mechanism that allows for the conditional release of offenders from a correctional centre into the community prior to the expiration of their entire sentences of imprisonment, as imposed by a court of law.In South Africa it is referred to as a placement option from prison into the system of community corrections. This means that the offender is released from prison prior to the expiry of his or her entire sentence of imprisonment to serve the remainder of the sentence outside of prison subject to specific conditions that must be complied with. This allows the offender to return to normal community life albeit under controlled conditions under the supervision of correctional officials. Although an offender has to serve his full sentence, the Department of Correctional Services realizes that, in the interests of successful re-integration of the offender, it is normally not appropriate for him/her to serve the full period of his/her sentence in a Correctional Centre. The possible parole placement or conversion of sentence of each offender is therefore considered individually on own merit according to progress with the sentence plan in order to determine the most appropriate stage for placement. When consideration is given to releasing an offender the potential risks related to such a placement are thoroughly considered and specific measures are put in place to ensure that the necessary control and supervision will be exercised over the offender until expiration of sentence.Although an offender has no right to be paroled, parole is an integrated part of the penal system and where an offender has demonstrated during his/her incarceration that he/she has been rehabilitated; that he/she is unlikely to be a danger to society and that there is a full awareness of and a contrition for the crime committed, the Board may approve/ recommended that a offender be released on conditions. Parole therefore provides offenders with the incentive to demonstrate their commitment to rehabilitation and correcting offending behaviour which are important elements of them becoming productive citizens.
What is unconditional release?
When an offender is not considered a suitable candidate for conditional release as mentioned above, the release of the offender occurs at the expiry of his or her total sentence and no conditions for release can be set. This is the date when the total determinate sentence expires after amnesty and/or special remission of sentence have been deducted from the maximum date and is often referred to as unconditional release. This is the statutory date on which an offender must be released from a correctional centre.
What is the difference between Parole placement and placement under Correctional Supervision
Parole placement is the conditional release of an offender subjected to continuous good conduct and adaptation from a correctional centre after a minimum prescribed portion of sentence has been served in the centre and under specific conditions that allows for the offender's re-incarceration in the event of non compliance of conditions of placement.
Placement under Correctional Supervision is a community-based sentencing option by the court which an offender serves under set conditions in the community. It also refers to an option where the Commissioner may convert a sentence of imprisonment after a portion has been served in a correctional centre under certain set conditions.
What is the role of a Correctional Supervision and Parole Board?
Correctional Supervision and Parole Boards are responsible for dealing with parole matters and matters of correctional supervision.The Correctional Supervision and Parole Boards have decision making competency with the exception of decisions regarding the granting of parole to people who are declared dangerous criminals in terms of Section 286A of the Criminal Procedure Act, the converting of sentences of imprisonment imposed in terms of Section 276 (A) (3) of the Criminal Procedure Act into correctional supervision and decisions with regard to those sentenced to life imprisonment. In such cases recommendations are submitted to the courts a quo who in turn will make decision in respect of conditional placement.
Composition of the boards
There are 52 Correctional Supervision and Parole Boards country-wide. These Boards will be chaired by community members who are regarded as suitable and capable of carrying out the responsibilities. Intensive training in respect of the processes, legislative implications and relative policies will be provided to them by the Department of Correctional Services.