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Prison visits allowed again under strict conditions

The Department of Correctional Services appealed to the public to be honest during the screening process to prevent any potential infections and cross-contamination.

THE Department of Correctional Services (DCS) will now allow visits to correctional centres, but under strict conditions. This follows the country’s move to alert level 1.

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DCS regional spokesperson, Thulani Mdluli said visitors will have to observe Covid-19 health protocols as well as DCS standard operating procedures.

“We rely on members of the public to be honest during screening in order to prevent any potential infections and cross-contamination. Those who have been in contact with Covid-19 positive cases must indicate as that will allow our health care practitioners to conduct extensive screening, which includes assessing vital signs.”

Mdluli added that it was important to note that provision of false information is a criminal offence. Those planning a visit are advised to always confirm their visit with the relevant correctional centre before travelling. “If at any given time, there are new or suspected cases of Covid-19 in a facility or unforeseen circumstances at the premises, this could affect visitations,” added Mdluli. DCS will therefore continue to monitor the situation and adjust safety measures and operating procedures where necessary.

Visiting protocols to correctional centre alert level1:

– Visits are limited to two visitors per inmate per month.

– Only one visitor per inmate will be allowed at a time.

– The non-contact visit classified inmates will be entitled to receive one visitor in a calendar month.

– Bookings must be pre-arranged at least 48-hours prior to the intended visit to ensure proper planning.

– No visits will be allowed without a prior appointment.

– Only visitors with face masks as per the approved name list will be allowed access.

– Visitors must arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the commencement of the scheduled visit time.

– Inmates will be allowed to receive items as per their privilege group and as prescribed in the policy.

– Visits will be permitted to take place between 9am and 3pm on visit days. In centres housing both sentenced and remands categories and depending on the number of inmates, remand detainees may receive visits on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, excluding public holidays. Whereas, sentenced offenders will be allowed visits on Wednesdays, Thursdays, weekends and public holidays.

Consultation with legal representatives:

– Consultation visits between legal practitioners and inmates will be non-contact and shall observe Covid-19 health protocols and operating procedures as determined by DCS.

– Legal practitioners will be expected to make prior arrangements with the Head of Centre and must be in possession of an identity document.

– On urgent matters, legal representatives and inmates may communicate telephonically after approval from the Head of Centre has been obtained, in line with the resource capacity of a specific centre.  


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