… As govt releases 299 convicts
By Marianne Nghidengwa
OVER 290 criminals, who were convicted of crimes ranging from murder, rape and fraud, have been released on parole between January 2016 and July 2017, Confidente can exclusively reveal.
Parole is the provisional release of a prisoner, who agrees to certain conditions prior to the completion of their sentence.
In an exclusive interview with Confidente this week, Namibian Correctional Services spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Eveline January, said that a total 299 criminal offenders, convicted of various crimes, including murder, rape, fraud and theft, were paroled.
She also revealed that the last time a presidential pardon had been issued was on 26 August 2013.
According to January, offenders convicted of any crime are eligible for parole, after serving two-thirds of their sentence, if they are unlikely to commit further crimes, and have reacted well to prison rehabilitation programmes, and do not pose a risk to society.
“Offenders eligible for release on full parole are considered when the risk they present to public safety is considered manageable, and their gradual and supervised reintegration is in the best interest of the community,” January explained.
She said the prescribed minimum periods served before convicts are considered for release on parole, included offenders sentenced to life imprisonment serving a minimum of 25 years.
Offenders that are declared habitual criminals should also serve a minimum of 25 years, while offenders serving sentences of imprisonment for scheduled offences are considered after serving two-thirds of their jail term.
Offenders serving sentences for non-scheduled offences are considered for parole after serving half of their jail time.
“An offender can be recommended for consideration for possible parole, when he or she has completed two-thirds of a sentence for a scheduled crime, and half of their sentence for non-scheduled offences. An offender can be considered when such an offender has displayed meritorious conduct, self-discipline, responsibility and industriousness during the period served; and such an offender will not, by reoffending, present an undue risk to society, before the expiration of the sentence he or she is serving; and when the release of the offender will contribute to their reintegration into society, as a law-abiding citizen,” January said.
She, however, added that being paroled does not come with all the freedoms ordinary citizens enjoy, as ex-convicts are not allowed to change their residence and work, without approval of the regional commander, under whose jurisdiction they were imprisoned.
They should also not commit any crime, and should not associate themselves with criminal-minded gangs, and should not visit undesirable places.
They are also not allowed to abuse alcohol and drugs and should first seek permission, before travelling outside their work or residential areas.
“Parole should not be seen as a privilege or reward given to an offender for industrious, cooperative or respectful behaviour during their term of imprisonment. Parole is the end result of a process of risk management of the offender, towards successful reintegration into the community.”
January added that if an offender does not adhere to the conditions, a warrant of arrest will be issued and they will be arrested and taken back to the correctional facility, to continue serving their sentence, until they are released again on parole or on the expiry of the jail term.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015