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Refereed articles

Protecting inmates’ dignity and the public’s safety: A critical analysis of the new law on medical parole in South Africa - p 185

This article discusses the new medical parole system introduced by the Correctional Services Amendment Act 5 of 2011. It seeks to establish whether the new system is capable of giving effect to inmates’ right to dignity and the public’s right to safety. Specific questions are posed to ascertain the impact that the new system will have on inmates’ dignity.

This article discusses the new medical parole system introduced by the Correctional Services Amendment Act 5 of 2011. It seeks to establish whether the new system is capable of giving effect to inmates’ right to dignity and the public’s right to safety. Specific questions are posed to ascertain the impact that the new system will have on inmates’ dignity. It includes questions regarding the application process and the criteria for eligibility for medical parole. These questions are discussed with a view to determining whether inmates will be assured of objective and fair decisions regarding their applications. Public safety, though it is not the primary consideration insofar as medical parole decisions are concerned, cannot be overlooked. To this end it is thus considered whether the safeguards afforded by the new medical parole system will adequately protect the public against repeat offending by medical parolees. In this regard the “low risk of re-offending” is analysed to gauge its impact on the public and on inmates. The possibility of revoking medical parole is also discussed as a measure that gives effect to public safety. It is concluded that the new medical parole system poses many challenges which will encroach upon both inmates’ right to dignity and the public’s right to safety.

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