'Prison overcrowding reduced'

A KwaZulu-Natal pilot project - proven to drastically reduce court backlogs and overcrowding in prisons - may be rolled out country wide, if the government comes to the table with funding, the Justice Department said yesterday.

A KwaZulu-Natal pilot project - proven to drastically reduce court backlogs and overcrowding in prisons - may be rolled out country wide, if the government comes to the table with funding, the Justice Department said yesterday.

The department's regional head Bridgette Tshabalala was speaking in Phoenix, north of Durban, during a presentation of the findings of the 18-month-long Justice and Restoration Project (Jarp) which was initiated in September 2006.

Its pilot project was a joint effort by the nongovernmental organisation Khulisa, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Justice Department.

"We are all aware of the challenges in the criminal justice system - the overcrowding and the court backlogs - and this project shows that it can be reduced," she said.

Tshabalala pointed out that many people thought that the criminal justice system favoured perpetrators.

"A convicted criminal admitted that they do get five-star treatment, they are treated when they are sick and they have access to anti-retrovirals in prison . how many victims have those opportunities?" she said. - Sapa

X