Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Golden Miles Bhudu, the president of the South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (SAPOHR), has expressed concern that the arrest and detention of individuals convicted of violent crimes in South Africa have not achieved their intended goal of rehabilitation. Bhudu dismissed the perception that correctional facilities are luxurious places where prisoners enjoy taxpayer-funded breaks, describing it as untrue and misleading.

Speaking at the ongoing national conference on the integrated criminal justice system and review of the Criminal Procedure Act, Bhudu emphasized that the Department of Correctional Services is not effectively fulfilling its mandate to ensure the rehabilitation and empowerment of offenders. He argued that the focus should be on investing in education, training, and skills development to address the issue of repeat offenders.

Bhudu highlighted the detrimental impact of white-collar crime in South Africa, stressing that the current system does not assist individuals in becoming law-abiding and productive citizens. He criticized the lack of support for rehabilitation efforts, noting that released individuals often leave correctional facilities as hardened criminals.

In a related development, Police Minister Bheki Cele appealed to the judiciary at the conference, urging them to exercise caution in granting bail to suspected criminals. He expressed concerns about the pressure on the correctional services system and emphasized the need to find effective ways of addressing the bail situation. Cele highlighted instances where lawyers collaborated with rogue prosecutors to secure bail for accused individuals, leading to a potential resurgence of criminal activities by those released.

The conference, attended by Cabinet ministers, retired and serving judges, legal experts, and members of the government’s justice and crime prevention cluster, aims to address challenges in the criminal justice system and explore potential reforms.

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