Correctional Services lifts ban on jail visits

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The Department of Correctional Services has announced the resumption of visits to inmates at its facilities across the country.

The department says the move follows a review of its COVID-19 protocols.

Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo says the visits will, however, be permitted under strict conditions.

They will be limited to one non-contact visit per inmate per calendar month, and only one visitor per inmate at a time.

Nxumalo says bookings for visits should be beforehand.

“We must emphasise that only visitors with face masks will be allowed in our centres. It is also critical to note that visits will only take place between 9am and 3pm on visit days. As restrictions have been eased across the country, correctional services are constantly monitoring the public health situation and shall adjust these measures continuously,” Nxumalo added.

There have been more than 5 400 COVID-19 infections in prisons countrywide since March:

Allegations dismissed

Correctional Services Spokesperson Logan Maistry has confirmed that there are four new COVID-19 confirmed cases at correctional facilities.

The department has dismissed allegations of not adhering to COVID-19 regulations.

“The number of active COVID-19 cases has decreased. The safety of correctional facilities is of paramount importance. On 30 July, three inmates set bedding and items alight in the cell. Circumstances are unknown but investigated. There is no incident of gang wars, but assaults take place.”

The South African Prisoners’ Unemployed Social Movement has meanwhile reiterated its call for more prisoners to be released as a COVID-19 mitigating factor.