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Parole systems to be tightened

Written by: Silusapho Nyanda

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola says the review of the parole boards will bring a more detailed system which will be used to determine whether offenders are equipped to re-engage with society. 

Parole is part of the total rehabilitation programme and it aims to correct offending behaviour.

It also includes the continuation of programmes aimed at re-integration while the offender is in the system of community corrections.

The review follows the arrest of parolees Moyhdian Pangarker (54) and Jacobus Pistoors (53) who allegedly killed eight-year-old Tazne van Wyk from Worcester and Tulbagh’s Reagen Gertse, respectively.

“Whilst we may argue that our parole system is flawed, but not broken, we should not be satisfied with a system that is not predictable."

The review will add new measures that will strengthen the parole boards’ decision making.

These new measures will see parole applicants assessed by human and criminal psychology experts. The assessment reports, on the applicant’s mind-set, compiled by a psychiatrist and a criminologist will form part of considerations brought before the parole boards.

The Minister also says a team comprising of these experts has already been set up to profile all gender-based violence and femicide offender cases.

Another new step will be the involvement of the South African Polices Services (SAPS) and social workers in the parole application process.

A social worker and psychiatrist will now assess the impact of the crime on the victim. They will submit a report to the police who will in turn submit it to the parole board for consideration as part of the application.

The Minister said as a step further in the parole programme his department will strengthen its monitoring mechanisms of parolees.

This will be done by working with community structures such as community policing forums and non-governmental organisation .

In light of the accusations against Pangarker and Pistoors, Lamola says they recognise that there is an urgent need to review the various rehabilitation programmes that parolees undergo to equip them with skills to assist them to distance themselves from their previous life of crime.

Pangarker was released on parole in 2016 after serving eight years of a ten year culpable homicide conviction.

Pistoors was released on parole, four months before he allegedly murdered Gertse, after serving seven years of a 12-year sentence for raping a five-year-old