Acting Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Faith Muthambi visited the correctional facility in Tokai on Wednesday, as part of her ongoing drive to meet prison management and staff, with the view to address some of the departmental challenges.
Addressing journalists, Muthambi said she was happy with the progress the correctional centre has made after being ordered by the court to reduce the number of offenders in the remand centres last year.
DCS Regional Commissioner Delekile Klaas says the main issue of the court judgment was to reduce the number of offenders in the remand detention facility to 150 percent of the population.
They now only have 10 percent to go to the target.
Klaas said: “At the time of the judgement, Pollsmoor was at 250 percent, and to this day we have been able to reduce the population to 160 percent.”
“This is only 188 offenders more than the target that was given to us in the judgement.”
Correctional services have been working closely with departments like the National Prosecuting Authority, police and other stakeholders to deal with offenders with short sentences and petty crimes.
Klaas said: “We are looking for alternative sentencing for offenders who are sentenced to six or less months.”
He says offenders who are arrested for “stealing a chocolate should not be sent to prison”.
“There needs to be other avenues for them to be punished.”
The department was confident it will be able to meet their target of offenders, when they submit their final report to court on 30 June.