Chris Moerdyk

What next? Idols for criminals?

2012-10-08 07:45

Chris Moerdyk

Now that the outcome of Idols is done and dusted, those millions of South Africans who got caught up in the hype and excitement of it all can now switch to the second most popular "Idols" competition in this nanny state of ours.

The much-anticipated Season 8 of Crime-Idols South Africa is here - bigger and better than ever before.

Will Sheryl Cwele serve 20 years in prison or will she be let out earlier? Fifteen years? Ten years? Five years? One year? Six months?

Will Sheryl Cwele an "incurable" illness and be granted medical parole?

Will Sheryl Cwele be allowed to take her designer outfits and jewelry into prison with her and will she be given a private cell far away from the riff-raff?

It would actually be funny if weren't so damn sad and serious.

Gap between the rich and poor

In fact, there is no greater example of the gap between rich and poor than that demonstrated by the South African justice system. If you are poor and steal a loaf of bread your trial takes about three minutes and you get sent to prison. Sometimes they let your family know but mostly they don't really bother.

If you are rich and get convicted of murder, rape, gun-running, drug-running, fraud and other heinous crimes, your trial will take at least three to four years during which time you will be as free as a bird on whatever bail you can conveniently afford without it making any sort of a dent in your asset base. At the end of it all your hot-shot lawyers will tie up the underpaid and overworked state prosecutor in so many legal technicalities, your case will be dismissed and you will probably be able to sue the police for wrongful arrest and end up with a quite nice return on investment for three years of your time.

Somehow or other, crime doesn't seem to be as anti-social as it was. At least for well-to-do or high profile criminals at least.

But that's not all. The families of criminals seem to feel that they also have some sort of VIP status demanding of extra-special treatment and consideration.

For example, take the case of the families of the 20 or so South Africans who are in prison in Mauritius, having been found guilty of smuggling drugs.

They are all really annoyed that the Mauritian government has refused them entry into their country to visit their imprisoned relatives.

Well, in my book it's no good blaming the Mauritian government. Rather blame those family members who through their greed and stupidity caused heartache for their loved ones. They’re the only ones to blame.

Stop treating criminals like VIPs

I reckon its time that the world stopped treating criminals like VIPs and started treating them like the crooks they are. Sure, one needs to be humane about it but one can be humane within out turning prisons into five star hotels and criminals into Idols stars.

Of course, its not just in South Africa. It happens all over the place.

My brother who worked for the department of correctional services in the USA for many years told me that prisoners there have more rights than the ordinary man in the street.

He also said that the most dangerous time for prison warders was when prisoners were within 10 days of being released. That was when many of them started stabbing warders so that they could be sent back to jail and a lifestyle that had all the creature comforts of modern society without any of the drawbacks like having to work for a living and worry about crime.

- Follow Chris on Twitter.

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