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Grahamstown Correctional Services officers caught up with a registered absconder working at a local school, but decided to let him go. The man had been hiding from the law for two years until he was found during a special monitoring operation last week.
The purpose of the special monitoring excursion was to visit and deal with offenders who fail to comply with their parole conditions.
It specifically focused on offenders who don't perform their community service and who fail to report to the correctional services offices, including absconders.
On Wednesday prison officials visited various areas in and around Grahamstown to check up on offenders out on parole, and on the following day they continued the operation in Bathurst, Port Alfred, Kenton-on-Sea and Alexandria.
Upon their arrival at a place where they believed one absconder to be working in Salem, the officials were directed back to a Grahamstown school where the man is currently employed as a labourer. Once the man was finally tracked down, the officers didn't arrest him because they said he had found a job and had not committed other crimes during the time he was registered as an absconder.
After a brief conversation with the man, the officers then arranged for him to meet with them at the correctional services offices on Friday to decide his fate.
Yesterday Grahamstown correctional services official Louis Wolmarans told Grocott's Mail that after they met with the man and held a meeting with a relevant expert, it was decided that he could continue to work and be registered as a parolee.
The man had been convicted of rape in 2008 and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on parole the following year in October. After a number of violations he had been registered as an absconder in 2010.
Provincial correctional services spokesperson Zama Feni said it was part his department's annual plans to conduct special monitoring operations. He said they look at the gravity of offences committed to impose suitable penalties on absconders.
If they put people's lives at risk we can even revoke the parole, Feni said. Responding to a question about the involvement of the offenders' victims in the parole process Feni said, our procedure, which is followed through what is called the correctional supervision and parole board, ensures that the victim is invited to the parole hearing and even given an opportunity to indicate if they are for or against the parole.