Authors - Carolyn Raphaely

The wasted years: When justice isn’t just

"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."

Justice isn’t always just. Just ask exoneeres at Innocence Network Conference in Memphis, Tennessee

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. 

Op-Ed: Mayhem and management in SA’s prisons

Anyone who still thinks SA’s prisons are luxury hotels should think again – particularly about the underlying reasons why inmates died, warders were critically injured and cells set alight during rioting at Leeuwkop, Krugersdorp, St Albans and Johannesburg (Sun City) prisons late last year.

Lies, damn lies and statistics

"With statistics about official-on-inmate violence currently as clear as mud and the truth hiding in plain sight, only one thing is certain: brutality behind bars appears to be an issue requiring urgent oversight and attention. Meantime, the prison oversight body needs to take a long hard look at its reporting methods which seem to conceal a whole lot more than they reveal."