Act proposed for awaiting trial prisoners

2011-08-11 09:43

Johannesburg - A proposed act for awaiting trial prisoners will "restore dignity" to them, the correctional services department said on Wednesday.

"Remand detention has for a long time been the stepchild of the department [because] there was no clear policy... and this has resulted in a situation where the needs of remand detainees were not on the forefront of developments," Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said in a speech prepared for delivery at Wits University.

She said previous policies did not distinguish between remand detention and normal prison sentences.

The Remand Detention and Correctional Matters Amendment Act of 2011 proposes that first-time offenders be placed in separate holding areas, and that remand detainees wear different uniforms from sentenced offenders.

Limited jail time

Mapisa-Nqakula said the act would also limit the time detainees had to spend in jail while awaiting trial.

"The current position in law provided that police could detain remand detainees for up to 30 days."

According to the amendment act detainees may not spend more than seven days in police custody, whatever the reason.

It also proposes that a suspect awaiting trial could not be detained in a correctional facility for more than two years.

"As of this week I have tabled in Parliament regulations drafted to give effect to the provisions of the act.

"Once these regulations have been approved... the bulk of the sections of the act will be promulgated," Mapisa-Nqakula said.

  • saabnut - 2011-08-11 09:47

    I say can the act and execute all the violent criminals, including rapists, murderers and child abusers. That will make space in the jails for the awaiting trial prisoners, as well as free up the court resources. Not to mention saving the country billions of rands annually that can be rechannelled positively. Remarkably simple when you think about it...

      Lab-Rat - 2011-08-11 11:19

      Even better, why not feed the criminals to the homeless then we solve 2 problems at the same time.

      Dayat Atime - 2011-08-11 11:30

      Soylent Solve two problems

  • 1gascan - 2011-08-11 09:58

    A crime is a crime - let them all stay together! Besides, how much more tax money will now be wasted implementing this new system?

      P!NK - 2011-08-11 10:04

      What a crock, I agree, why bother keeping first time offenders happy - Bet it's only the first time they were caught!!!

      Melanie Walsh - 2011-08-11 10:07

      And if the person is innocent of the crime? These people haven't been proven guilty yet. I am all for people who are convicted criminals going away for a very long time, but if you are accused of something you didn't commit and then have to stay in prison with the criminals who have it seems a bit extreme.

      Edgar Boehm - 2011-08-11 11:31

      I agree with Melanie Walsh. Those found guilty must suffer the consequences of their actions. Those that are suspects for the first time should be kept in humane conditions (Please note, this does not mean DSTV and internet and a fully kitted gym along with an ala carte menu!) Those caught for a second, third, hundredth time should go into a mass lock-up along with those already convicted.

  • Pictureof - 2011-08-11 09:59

    According to this new act the boeremag would have been freed after two years. I like it when the ANC takes right wingers needs into account.

  • Grant - 2011-08-11 10:01

    A very high percentage of awaiting trial prisoners are re-offenders. This act will simply allow first time offenders to become re-offenders all the quicker. Generally all offenders should be considered to have voluntarily abdicated their 'rights' and be treated appropriate to that new status.

  • brinjal - 2011-08-11 10:04

    Don't you get it, these are awaiting trial prisoners, not yet sentenced, some could be innocent still, maybe one of your kids/relatives pulled over in a roadblock for something minor.

      Johnny - 2011-08-11 12:08

      raise your kids to abide by the law!

  • WCD - 2011-08-11 10:06

    It is funny how much the government does to satisfy people in jail, what about the law abiding citizens who have to pay for their chops and rice. Being a citizen of South Africa is definitely becoming more of a task than a privilege. 8 Million people must pay and account for the rest of the useless, overfed, content with nothing, citizens. The time will come when the 'REAL' citizens will close their doors, wallets and kitchens.

  • MasterMind - 2011-08-11 10:06

    Yip the useless ANCpf need their voting fodder out on the streets to create more mayhem and havoc - what dignity do awaiting trial CRIMINALS have??? Morons !!!

  • crackerr - 2011-08-11 10:16

    The new provisions will hopefully make a difference for the better. However, why is it necessary that ANY matter must take up to two years to be finalized? Nonsense. They must cease the practice of locking people up if the cases against them are not yet ready to go to court. The danger now facing us is that the two years or a period close to the expiry of the two years will be regarded as the norm to hold suspects in custody. It is unacceptable and unfair to the accused and the public that cases take so long to finalize. Another bothering issue is that the police are not making use of technology to immediately determine upon arrest or questioning a suspect whether he/she has a criminal record or is out on bail on other charges. Surely these must be available even if it costs a more.

  • TRiP - 2011-08-11 10:27

    What about the dignity they took from their victims? Disembowel them all and parade them in the street for all to see. Crime will drop instantly by 99.999%

  • Smaal - 2011-08-11 10:39

    One of the stories this morning was one of where 3 black attackers attacked a mom at a school while she was picking up her daughter. The daughter was put into the robber’s car and they tried to put the women in the car as well. Luckily they got away and the robbers only got away with the woman handbag. Not only do they rob in daylight but they also kidnap in daylight. The weak and the vulnerable are being terrorized and now our justice system wants to “restore their dignity”?!?!? I suggest a new armament: All law abiding citizens should trained and issued with a firearms without any need for justification. Priority should be given to mothers with children. There should be a law stating that if you trespass on private property you can be shot. If you approach anyone without invitation you can be shot. These laws of first being shot before you can shoot back IS RUBBISH! Why should law abiding citizens live in fear and be the victims of these bustard mongrel criminals!

  • crackerr - 2011-08-11 10:44

    They are talking about AWAITING TRIAL PRISONERS. Anybody with work experience in the criminal justice system will be able to confirm the many innocent people being locked up. And about the many acquittals in court. These are not criminals. They should not be treated like criminals and their freedoms not unnecessarily curtailed. Now that we are on the subject, why are shoplifters who are accused of stealing goods of very little value summarily locked up and kept locked up while some to the elites who are accused of planning and executing their crimes over long periods treated completely differently by being allowed to attend court and immediately being released on bail they can afford?

      Varkie - 2012-04-28 19:11

      you got it ,wait until one of theses citezens get targeted by a traffic cop and get arrested severel times just because you told him his fortune once.are you then a criminal

  • Antonio Ashley Morientes - 2011-08-11 12:04

    Madame Minister, I got a better solution though. Why not speed up the court processes in the first place. Why keeping someone for two years to be tried. What a waste of tax payer's money. Revamp your judicial system first so that court matters get expedited with minimal delay for them not to loose credibility. We read about clear cut cases with overwhelming evidences but all we get are adjournments for what? so that the so called lawyers can cash on it? Just to name a few take the jub jub case, why must it be prolonged any further? the dual are lucky to be on bail because they can afford what about those that cant afford legal represantion and did not commit the alleged crimes, trust me most of the awaiting trial in mates are innocent and got no connections. Criminals are all out on bail (Mrs Cele the drug dealer as an example). Madame minister what you need to do is to revamp the judivial system first because the current conditions make it easy for corruption to take place. For your own information prosecutors and judges have joined the band wagon too. Please let us not waste any more tax payer's money aith encient methods.

  • Johnny - 2011-08-11 12:06

    if you have committed a crime, in my opinion, you have given up the right to be treated with dignity and respect, unfortunately innocent people do fall through the cracks from time to time but unless proven so, you should be treated as a prisoner and that should be as harsh as possible, that way people might actually fear going to prison.

      Varkie - 2012-04-28 19:15

      do you know the law mr johnny.i can get you arrested whenever i i have to do is file a complaint.

      Varkie - 2012-04-28 19:21

      mr johnny are you then a crimanal or a citezen with a false complaint that needs to be investigated if its false or true.during that time you must be in jail.

  • WhiteFight - 2011-08-11 13:10

    They want to let them out in time to vote for those who freed them.

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