NCS introduces stricter measures to curb COVID-19 among inmates

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The Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) has introduced stricter measures at all correctional facilities countrywide to curb the spread of COVID-19 among inmates.

The NCS in a media statement on Thursday said they are suspending activities like transfers between facilities, which will only be considered in cases where it is urgent and where there is no alternative option, especially when there are legal implications.

It said all new admissions to the facilities from the court must be isolated for seven days before being integrated into the living units or sections, with all visitations suspended at all facilities.

“Officers in charge of facilities are urged to encourage inmates and their families to make use of telephone or other modes of communication during the suspension period. Visitors for official purposes, such as in-person legal activities by legal practitioners, are only allowed if such consultations cannot be done telephonically and are subject to proper health screenings before entry is allowed,” it added.

Legal practitioners are also required to liaise with the officer-in-charge prior to their visit to the facilities as no contact visit should be allowed between the inmate and the legal practitioners, the statement reads.

The NCS has also suspended all escorts to public hospitals. Exceptions will only be allowed in case of emergencies and when so required, prior arrangements must be considered for outside hospitals.

Other suspended activities include all outside activities such as building projects, except for maintenance work, as well as all inmates’ physical sports activities, correctional staff-related sports activities and literacy programmes at all prisons.

Offender rehabilitation programmes will continue at facilities for a period of two hours per session and psychosocial rehabilitation programmes will continue to be delivered in groups of eight inmates and two facilitators.

Online studies and vocational training programmes, as well as industrial workshop production, will continue to be delivered in groups of not more than eight people, while all agricultural activities will continue but will be done in smaller groups of 10, including correctional officers.

Inmates from different security classification units are not allowed to mix for any of the programmes.

Source: Namibia Press Agency