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CONJUGAL RIGHTS FOR MARRIED INMATES

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MBABANE – The idea of inmates enjoying conjugal rights could soon be a reality. 

This is if the Draft of Correctional Services Regulations 2019 come into force once published by the minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in a gazette.

The arrangement for inmates to enjoy conjugal rights, as addressed by the Correctional Services Act, was to be afforded to them on condition that there were structures suitable for such an activity. However, such structures could take long, considering the financial situation of the country which is not permitting.

His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) Chief Officer Mlondi Nsibandze, who was presenting the Draft of Correctional Services Regulations 2019 on Tuesday, said offenders would now benefit conjugal rights if they qualified for a day’s parole.

Married

However, it is not all offenders who will be allowed to enjoy conjugal visitation but those who are married and eligible to benefit after consideration by the local review committee. Further, the regulations note that the circumstances and manner in which an offender could apply for day parole and the monitoring and supervision of an offender released on day parole will be determined by the commissioner general.

According to Regulation 136 (1), under the heading ‘Release of offender on Day Parole’; Subject to sub regulation (3) and (4), the Local Review Committee may authorise the release on day parole of a convicted offender who has served one half of the earliest possible date of release, in the opinion of the Local Review Committee. Such offender, in the opinion of the committee, has to display meritorious conduct, self-discipline, responsibility and industry during such term served and would not present an undue risk to society when on day parole.

The release of the offenders while on parole, will contribute to their reintegration into society as a law abiding citizen.

Meanwhile, offenders who have been declared by a competent court as habitual criminals and sentenced to life imprisonment will not be eligible for a day’s parole. Other offenders who do not qualify for parole are those who have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for any crimes or offences under Schedule 4 and 5 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act 67 of 1938 (as amended) and those who have been classified as a maximum security offenders. Juvenile offenders, according to the regulations, shall not apply for parole. In Section (5), the regulations state that when an offender contravenes a condition of day’s parole or when the local review committee is satisfied that it is necessary and reasonable to suspend the offender’s release on day parole in order to prevent a contravention of any condition or to protect the society, the local review committee shall report the matter to the commissioner general or regional commissioner.

When applying for a day’s parole which is under Regulation 137, the application should be submitted to the case manager who then makes comments, if any, and then submit it to the local review committee. It is the local review committee, on consideration of the application, who may authorise the release of the offender on day parole to allow the offender to participate in community-based activities as it was necessary, according to their rehabilitation plan. Participation of the offenders in the community-based activities were aimed at preparing them for release.

The offender on day parole is required to return daily to the Correctional facility or Correctional Community Centre, as the local review committtee may decide.

In Regulations 139, under the release of offenders on full parole in terms of Part (1),  the Parole Board may authorise the release, on full parole, of a convicted offender who has served one half of the earliest possible date of release, where in the opinion of the Board, such offender has displayed meritorious conduct, self discipline, responsibility and industry during the term served. The offender will not, by re-offending, present an undue risk to society when on full parole or the release will contribute to the reintegration of the offender into society as a law abiding citizen. 

Parole

Also, considered is the fact that the offender has responded positively to the treatment programmes administered by the correctional centre, while behavioural and social reports recommend the release of such offender on full parole.

One of the factors considered is if the community is ready to welcome the offender in the area they will be residing. 

“They should also not to be found to have violated the day parole conditions previously. Further they should have undergone the restorative justice process.

The release on full parole shall be on such conditions as the Parole Board may determine. When an offender contravenes a condition of parole the commissoner general may act in terms of Section 102 or 107 of the Act,” reads the regulations in part.

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