- Are marriage ceremonies allowed in an institution?
Because of the particular realities of a local institution, a good first step is to contact the institutional chaplain. A ceremony may take place in the institutional chapel, or another location in the institution may be used, depending on the safety and security of all persons involved and the operational needs of the institution.
- What is security classification of inmates?
As soon as possible after admission as a sentenced offender, such offender must be assessed to determine the extent to which the inmate presents a security risk and so as to determine the correctional centre or part of a correctional centre in which he or she is to be detained. Inmates are either classified under minimum, medium or maximum security categories.
- Where can I get a list and contact details of all DCS correctional facilities?
List of all DCS correctional facilities and their contact details is available on DCS website under ‘Regions’
- What is the process that occurs after an offender gets a sentence?
Once the sentence is imposed by a court of law, a thorough assessment is done on the offender to determine his/her risk level and needs, and ensures that the offender’s initial placement is at the appropriate security level. This profiling of inmates and the compilation of needs-based correctional sentence plans determines rehabilitation programmes suitable for each individual offender.
- Who is the head of the Department Correctional Services?
DCS is headed by the National Commissioner, who is supported by an executive team consisting of Chief Deputy Commissioners and Regional Commissioners. The Commissioner in turn reports to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services.
- Who makes decisions on parole?
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.
The Correctional Matters Amendment Act of 2011 provides for a new medical parole policy and correctional supervision. The Medical Parole Advisory Board is appointed to look into all seriously and terminally ill inmates who have submitted reports requesting to be released on medical grounds.
- Do you have any posts/ internships available at the moment?
At the moment we have no posts available, however, we do advertise from time to time in the main Sunday newspapers and on our website, so be sure to scan these regularly. There is a fraudulent advertisement regarding internships in our Department that is doing the rounds. Please be advised that there is no such advertisement and we do not have any positions for interns at this stage.
- I would like to know if a certain offender is in one of your facilities?
You are more than welcome to provide us with the name of the person, birthdate or id number if possible, and we can trace the person for you if he/she is in one of our facilities.
- How can one apply for reduction of sentence?
A sentence can only be reduced by a court. The person must apply for leave to appeal. The only other option to reduce a sentence is when the President uses his powers in terms of section 84(2)(j) of the Constitution. This process is driven by the Department of Justice.
- What is Amnesty and how does it work – who gets it and on what condition and when?
The granting of Special Remission (Amnesty) is an internationally accepted practice, usually to celebrate a special event. During 2005 the President granted Special Remission to sentenced offenders to celebrate the first 10 years of Democracy. (In terms of Section 84 (2) (j) of the Constitution, 1996 the pardoning or reprieving offenders and the remitting of any fines, penalties or forfeitures is the prerogative of the President).
In general (although there may be exceptions) the length of sentence to be served is reduced with the period of special remission (amnesty), granted by the President, e.g. if a person received 6 months special remission on a 2 year sentence, he/ she will have to serve 18 months after the special remission has been deducted.
With regard to the question who gets special remission, it should be noted that there is no fixed criteria. During the most recent occasion (30 May 2005) the President granted 6 months special remission to all sentenced offenders and an additional 14 months to those offenders not serving sentences for aggressive crimes, firearm related crimes, sexual crimes and drug related crimes. This criteria may not have been applicable during previous special remissions.