wits justice project

The Wits Justice Project investigates miscarriages of justice and raises awareness of issues within the criminal justice system with an aim to advocate for change, strengthen procedures and build on reform efforts. This is achieved through investigative journalism, advocacy, research and education.

Investigative Journalism

Special report: Non-lethal weapons or torture tools?

Jul 06, 2016 | Ruth Hopkins and Marché Arends
Daily Maverick

Every day, South African police officers and prison wardens go to work, armed with legal tools that can be used to torture. Electric shock devices, tonfas, pepper spray and rubber bullets are classified as non-lethal weapons and therefore are assumed to be a safer alternative to guns. But the Omega ...


Shutting Rikers would be a major step towards fixing the US’s prisons

Jun 27, 2016 | Ruth Hopkins
Mail and Guardian

Roughly 95% of the current 7 800 inmates at Rikers are people of colour. This reflects a national trend: in the United States, one out of three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime and African-American women are three times more likely to be jailed than white women. 


Life, Interrupted: Hundreds of inmates consider legal action over parole delays

Jun 23, 2016 | Marché Arends
Daily Maverick

While parole is not a right, and can never be guaranteed, inmates do have a legal right to be considered by the parole board. Maladministration within the system has become so pervasive, however, that many lifers now feel approaching the court is the only way this will happen – an issue of which the ...


Outreach & Education

Insights