Friday, March 31, 2006

Authorities urged to tackle prison overcrowding

Judge Hannes Fagan says South Africa must tackle overcrowding in prisons, which is hampering rehabilitation of criminals and fuelling the country's crime record. Fagan, who heads the country’s prisons watchdog, says a drive launched last year to release low-risk inmates has helped, but is not a long-term solution. South Africa's prison population stands at 157-thousand although its 240 prisons are only meant to hold 114-thousand inmates. Fagan has also called for minimum sentences for offences like murder and rape to be scrapped and said efforts should instead focus on preventing crime through social programmes.

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