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Sentences may be commuted

Prison authorities are to approach courts to have the jail sentences of women petty criminals converted to correctional supervision.

Correctional Services Minister Sbu Ndebele said yesterday that this would apply to pregnant young women and those with babies younger than two years.

“The children end up growing up in prisons because no family member is available to take care of them,” Ndebele said in a speech prepared for delivery at a Women’s month event in Port Elizabeth.

He said the petty crimes committed by women included shoplifting of baby products. They mostly served sentences of less than 24 months.

“We have also directed that separate security facilities be established for all inmates serving sentences of less than 24 months, as most of them are first-time offenders.” – Sapa

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