Humane move

The move by Deputy Justice Minister Johnny de Lange to release 11 000 awaiting-trial prisoners who cannot afford bail must be commended.

The move by Deputy Justice Minister Johnny de Lange to release 11 000 awaiting-trial prisoners who cannot afford bail must be commended.

These are people who have committed petty crimes such as shoplifting and whom the courts have ruled do not deserve to remain in jail. But because they are poor they remain incarce- rated.

Because of overcrowding in prisons these prisoners are usually locked up with hardened criminals, making them vulnerable to abuse or even being turned into hardened criminals themselves.

De Lange also correctly argues that it costs the taxpayers more to keep them in jail than to waive the bail they have to pay to the state.

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