"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."
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