Presumed guilty until trial in court: our article in today’s Mail and Guardian

By Ruth Hopkins, Wits Justice Project Senior Journalist

Thousands of people have been languishing in prison for years without having been convicted and the causes of judicial delays are manifold.

When Victor Nkomo arrived at Johannesburg Prison’s notoriously overcrowded awaiting-trial detention centre, he had to sleep on a cold concrete floor for a few nights.

A step up would be sharing a narrow bunk bed with two other men in the communal cell that was built to accommodate 30 inmates. But in Medium A, 75 men were housed in the cell and they had to share one toilet among them. At night, the rattling coughs of inmates – likely because of the tuberculosis epidemic – and erupting quarrels kept him awake. This was in 2006.

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About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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