Criminal Justice System: this week’s World news round-up

Local Stories

Bloemfontein prison warders launch strike

Warders at Mangaung Prison in Bloemfontein, South Africa, are on strike. The Prison is a private prison, run by G4S security company.

Below is an extract from a front page report by our senior journalist, Ruth Hopkins. She has been investigating the happenings at Mangaung extensively. Read here and here for more of her exclusive reports.

“The biggest labour disruption at the prison to date was triggered by the suspension on Monday of five employees accused of inciting a collective stay away last month.

The Labour Court ruled that the action amounted to an unprotected strike in terms of the Labour Relations Act and ordered all employees to return to work.

The warders’ most pressing concern is the lack of protection for the unarmed guards in the highly violent prison, where gangs regularly stab, maim and rape the guards. Their calls for help have gone unheard for years”


Correctional Services gives clarity on Moyane’s retirement

Correctional Services Commissioner Tom Moyane retired this week. The Department of Correctional Services has appointed Nontsikelelo Jongilanga to act as Correctional Services Commissioner.

DCS have defended their decision, amongst allegations that Tom Moyane was forced into retirement

Read more here

International stories

$12.3 million settlement in police torture case spares Daley from testifying

Chicago police have been found guilty of torturing accused into giving false confessions – false confessions that ‘proved’ their guilt and resulted in the inmates being sentenced to prison time. Some were even sentenced to death row.

Below is an extract of the article, read the full article here

Chicago taxpayers will spend $12.3 million to compensate two more exonerated inmates who claim they were tortured into false confessions by convicted former Area 2 Cmdr. Jon Burge, keeping former Mayor Richard M. Daley off the hot seat.

The identical $6.15 million settlements will go to Ronald Kitchen and Marvin Reeves, who spent more than two decades in prison for the 1988 murders of five they did not commit.


Suicide rate in prisons 10 times higher: study

A study conducted in Canada has revealed that suicide is ten times more likely amongst those incarcerated than it is on ‘the outside’. The study also found that inmates are 50 times more likely to die of a drug overdose than civilians outside of prison.

Below is an extract, read the full article here

Study author Peter Ford said he believes many of the deaths could have been prevented.

“We saw people where the records were in the coroners’ files that indicated to us that some of these individuals had been on suicide watch, some of them right up to an hour or two before they committed suicide. So they were still high risk when the suicide watch was lifted,” said Ford


How Two Newspaper Reporters Helped Free an Innocent Man

A positive story on the power of journalism, read the report here


Man linked by DNA to 1990s rapes stands trial after wrongly accused man exonerated

After 20 years incarcerated in a mental hospital, Darren Hill was proved to be innocent and exonerated on the strength of DNA evidence. He had been pointed at by the complainant in a line up – years before DNA evidence was used as an evidence tool in the criminal justice system

Read the full report here



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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