Criminal Justice System – local and international news roundup

Local stories

New rules for Awaiting-trial prisoners

“The remand detention white paper will, among others, introduce separate detention facilities for awaiting trial inmates.

Justice activists say the policy changes are long overdue. Noshin Erfani-Ghadimi from the Wits Justice Project says, “The trauma of detention, the trauma of being imprisoned is such that it will affect your life and especially for people who do not have the educational background to understand what’s happening to them, and we as society must look out for those people and the rights of those people.”

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Prisoner plans to sue minister after rape

“A Paarl man has given the Western Cape High Court a chilling account of his experience in a local prison, which started with him being raped by a leader of the 28s Gang in an overcrowded cell he shared with about 70 inmates, a nurse’s later refusal to treat him, and a priest’s advice that he should repent for his sins.

The man, who may not be identified, had not had any sexual relations before he was raped and is now HIV positive.

He is suing the minister of correctional services for R1.7 million, but is fighting for the go-ahead to proceed with the action because it is the minister’s contention that, in terms of the law, he failed to give notice of his intention to sue within a specific period of time. The man now wants the court to condone his failure to do so and explained his reasons for the delay”

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Do not judge offenders, asks Ndebele

Correctional services celebrates correctional week from September 26 to October 4 2013

“When offenders have paid their dues to society and completed their sentences, please, as communities, let us not continue to, indirectly, impose a life sentence on them outside our correctional centres,” said Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele.

The department said he was speaking at the graduation ceremony of 302 inmates at Leeuwkop prison, in Gauteng, on Friday.

They had completed various education and skills development programmes, and among them were 49 qualified artisans, and 50 inmates who had completed the artisan development skills programme”

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Staggie receiving job offers

“Former Hard Livings gang leader Rashied Staggie has received several job offers, the correctional services department said on Wednesday.

“There are people who want to employ him and we need to give them space,” said deputy chief commissioner of incarceration and corrections James Smalberger.

“If they (the potential employers) are happy, we will allow Rashied Staggie to go for an interview.”

Smalberger declined to give details on the offers, saying it would be “unfair” and “sad” to comment on each specific one.

Staggie was released on day parole from Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town on Monday morning”

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International Stories

Man to get $6M over arrest, imprisonment in murders

“A man cleared by DNA of killing his daughter and her friend in Zion in 2005 has settled his lawsuit against police and prosecutors, taking in more than $6 million, according to court records.

Jerry Hobbs sued several Lake County authorities in 2010, the year he was released after five years in jail awaiting trial. He had confessed to stabbing the girls after a grueling interrogation that stretched over 24 hours, but DNA evidence later linked the crime to another man.”

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Judges Grant California More Time to Reduce the Prison Population

“Federal judges agreed Tuesday to extend an end-of-year deadline for reducing California’s prison population in hopes of finding a long-term solution to an overcrowding crisis that has forced the state to spend billions of dollars to improve inmate medical care.

The ruling granted at least a temporary victory to Gov. Jerry Brown and leading lawmakers of both parties. They had been fighting against an early release of inmates, saying it jeopardized public safety.

The panel of three federal judges granted the delay until Jan. 27 but said all parties must meet with a separate judge, who will make recommendations to the panel by Oct. 21”

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16 killed in Venezuela prison violence

“The nongovernmental Venezuelan Prison Observatory says that last year was the system’s worst in 14 years with 591 inmates killed and 1,132 injured”

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Girl molested at police station – report

“A teenager was allegedly forced to strip and molested by police when she refused to pay a bribe to lodge a rape complaint in northern India, officials said on Wednesday.

“The girl complained that the station house officer took her into a room and asked her to remove her clothes, so he could confirm if she had been sexually assaulted,” on Sunday, the region’s police chief Lalit Kumar Singh said.

The victim, 18, “alleged she was later molested by the officer, who had demanded 50 000 rupees to lodge the rape complaint”, Singh added”

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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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