Authors - Ruth Hopkins

Police time and money go to pot

If dagga is decriminalised, R3.5-billion could be invested annually in serious crimes.  It may take some of the pressure off the clogged-up court system, an overburdened police force, severely overcrowded prisons and see more successful prosecutions for murders such as that of Karabo Mokoena.


Op-Ed: The contrition clause of parole

While the parole system or parole boards cannot fix a wrongful conviction, the “contrition” requirement in the parole process currently functions as a quid pro quo for release. This is disproportionately punitive towards people who still maintain their innocence.


Court slams Pollsmoor’s awaiting trial facility for inhumane conditions

The Western Cape High Court decided on Monday that the conditions in Pollsmoor Remand (awaiting trial) detention facility are unconstitutional. Lawyers for Human Rights and Sonke Gender Justice filed the complaint with the court, claiming that the severe overcrowding – the facility is approximately 300 % over its capacity – and inhumane conditions should be condemned by the court and addressed by government. 


The power of words for incarcerated people

My friend and New York attorney Beena Ahmad– who worked for nearly a year with the Wits Justice Project – had a quirky habit. In her neighbourhood in Brooklyn, with great enthusiasm, she picked up books that people left out on the street. Sometimes I would share her joy, like when she picked up a battered copy of Long Walk to Freedom, placed on a garden wall. Other finds, like Form Your Own Limited Liability Company, for example, didn’t seem quite as riveting.