oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Parole boards in South Africa: on the road to extinction? A comparative perspective

Volume 36, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



This article attempts to make a comparison of the parole boards of South Africa, United Kingdom and Canada. The benchmark for this comparison includes foundations; structures; form of enquiry; and criteria used by the parole boards to select offenders. Parole boards in South Africa have been established in terms of the Correctional Services Act, which also provides for the selection of members of the parole boards. With regard to rights, opinions have been expressed, among others from parole boards members themselves, that parole is a privilege and not a right. In general, parole boards were primarily created as the authority to oversee the new arrangements of parole as conditional release of offenders under supervision. Parole boards in the form of prison administrators played a major role in the creation of modalities of parole. In South Africa, the possible participation of courts in matters of release on parole has been mooted in the defunct Parole and Correctional Supervision Amendment Act. The involvement of the political bureaucrats in parole matters has resulted in the parole boards losing the link between the rationale for release on parole and criteria used to select suitable offenders.

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