In 2012, I was arrested with two friends for smoking a joint I had just bought off a car guard in Melville, Joburg. Now that dagga has been partially legalised, I feel I can come out of the pot closet.
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.
In the past, solitary confinement was primarily used as a means of punishment and, according to International Human Rights Law, constitutes torture.
Being unemployed is hard, but add a criminal record into the mix – wrongfully convicted or not – makes finding a job close to impossible.
Lawyers can sometimes bully an accused into signing a deal to save time in court, writes Azarrah Abdul Karrim.
At the age of 19, Calvin Moyo left Zimbabwe in search of a better life in South Africa. His siblings were already in the country and his brother took him in.
In 2013 Wits Justice Project's Ruth Hopkins uncovered gross human right's violations in Mangaung prison in Bloemfontein, including electroshocking, forced injection with antipsychotic drugs, legnthy segregations and abuse at the hands of prison warders.
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?