Roundup of criminal justice stories making news this week

“Number of children awaiting trial drops”: SA News, May 31.

Sourced from the Department of Correctional Services

Sourced from the Department of Correctional Services

According to the Department of Correctional Services, the number of children awaiting trial in the country’s remand detention facilities has decreased by 74%.In the 2013/14 financial year, 129 awaiting-trial children were held in the country’s remand detention facilities, down from 497 in 2009/10. The number of sentenced children has also declined by 62.1% between 2009/10 and 2014/15 financial years, from 538 to 204. The department said it refers awaiting trial children to courts for consideration after every 14 days of detention, to facilitate the conclusion of their cases, in line with the Child Justice Act.

“70 phones seized in Durban prison”: IOL, June 1.

The Department of Correctional Services is seeking to eradicate illegal use of cell-phones in correctional centres. This comes after a raid at the Westville Prison last week Friday, May 29. The raid, by the Emergency Support Team (EST), discovered an inmate operating his taxi business from his cell, 200 sim cards and 70 cell-phones. Of the discovered SIM cards, 128 were found on one inmate. The most unexpected find was 50 litres of home brewed beer in an open bucket under a bunk bed in a cell shared by more than 60 men. The implicated offenders were immediately moved to Kokstad prison and will remain there while investigations continue.

“About 1500 police officers attacked in 2014/15”: SA News, June 2.

According to police, 86 police officers lost their lives in the 2014/2015 financial year, which is an increase from 77 officers in the 2013/2014 reporting period. Additionally, a total of 1501 police officers were attacked in the 2014/2015 financial year. This is an increase of 329 attacks of police officers than the 2013/2014 financial year.

“Taking the phones out of cells: Are signal jammers the answer?” Daily Maverick, June 5

Clare Ballard, an attorney who works on the panel reform programme for Lawyers for Human Rights says that the only way to deal with phones in prisons is for the Department of Correctional Services to start “to simply police their own systems more effectively”.Wits Justice Project (WJP), project coordinator, Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi spoke to the Daily Maverick about the violence that is often inflicted on inmates during these types of raids. Erfani-Ghadimi mentioned of the torture cases the WJP receives which frequently starts with officials looking for cell-phones.

 

 

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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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