"The US National Registry of Exonerations currently lists 43 men whom the criminal justice system has robbed of more than 30 years of their lives as punishment for crimes they did not commit. When Ricky Jackson, sentenced to death and incarcerated for 39 years – including two years spent on death row – was exonerated in 2014, he was believed to be the longest-serving exoneree in US history. Today, Richard Phillips, who spent 46 years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit and was released aged 72 in 2018, holds this dubious record."
The new ConCourt judgment legalising private use of cannabis should lead to a decrease in dagga arrests, but power still rests with the police. To date, cannabis arrests are one of the biggest SAPS arrest categories. Complete decriminalisation would free up R3.5-billion in police resources. This could be put to good use in combating the worrying 7 % increase in the murder rate, contained in the latest SAPS crime stats.
Wrongful convictions are an uncomfortable fact of life, which in South Africa remains mostly unacknowledged, usually ignored and often denied. The establishment of a South African version of the US National Registry of Exonerations could well be an important step in the right direction.
Senior Journalist Carolyn Raphaely goes in depth about her work at the WJP on Classic Fm with Richard Cock, and gives us a taste of her favourite songs.
Inmates say they were given electric shocks and forcibly injected at the multinational security company’s Mangaung Correctional Centre, writes Ruth Hopkins
None of the exonerees who journeyed to Memphis from all over the US traveled light. With an astonishing 3,501 years behind bars clocked up between them for heinous crimes they did not commit – including arson, murder, rape, and robbery – these “innocents” of all ages, stages, colours and creeds carried heavy emotional baggage. The majority also bore an enormous debt of gratitude to Innocence Network lawyers, some of whom had worked for years to secure their release. A former Soshanguve taxi driver, Thembekile Molaudzi, was there.
The question is why does the government not focus more on keeping people out of prison – a more cost-effective and humane solution?