R31 Million for remand detainees uniforms...remand detainees should be dressed appropriately
Categories: HEADLINES, Safety & Security
The Department says that remand detainees must wear prescribed uniform for security and management of these detainees. NICRO is of the opinion that the focus should not be on the prescribed uniform but on improving their overall management of remand detainees. However NICRO does believe that remand detainees should be dressed appropriately in private clothes for court appearances.
These clothes can be obtained from family members, and where family can’t assist then the State should be able to help.
Clothing should not be a priority for the department but the focus should be on ensuring that remand detainees are given access to justice and other social services that they may require before appearing in court. Rather than spending Millions of Rand on this project the department should fund NGO’s like NICRO that offers programmes to remand detainees but also more importantly fund crime prevention programmes in our communities.
The +R31 Million budgeted for this exercise by the departments should be used on projects that will assist remand detainees with their court appearance, focus on social assistance , like connecting with families to support them while they in remand. At NICRO we have developed a project called Remand Revolution which focuses on the offender awaiting trial within the community, but this project has not yet been implemented due to lack of funding. Perhaps the department can fund this project, which not only saves Tax payers Millions but also offers more support to remand detainees.
Given the fact that the majority of remand detainees are bread winners of their families, as well as possibility that they could be innocent, incarceration not only impacts their families negatively, but also they become vulnerable to criminal elements within the prison walls. This is why NICRO proposed its Remand Revolution programme which would cost much less than what has been currently budgeted for in respect of this uniform exercise. It would be more beneficial to offer a holistic approach to remand detainees giving them an opportunity to access rehabilitation programmes.
Awaiting trial prisoners are not yet convicted, thus technically should not be treated as prisoners, though they are subject to some custodial rules since they are in custody. The focus should be on making sure that they are treated with dignity and have access to services and programmes to help them with their cases but also offer some rehabilitation.
For more info. on NICRO: www.nicro.org.za