Aweil justice officials consider alternatives to prison
4 September 2013 - Considering alternatives to imprisonment for inmates with minor convictions was vital to reduce overcrowding in prisons, a Northern Bahr El-Ghazal State legislator said today in the state capital Aweil.
Speaking at the end of a one-day forum on the rule of law, State Legislative Assembly Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee Chairperson Garang Majak Bol urged justice actors in the state to implement the recommendation.
"It will be good for us to reflect (on today's) resolutions or to translate them into an action plan," said Mr. Bol. "People are being detained for minor cases, like (not paying) ... five hundred pounds. ... I think we (will) be able to reduce the crowding in the prison."
Following a presentation by UNMISS Justice Affairs Officer Setol Siakor on alternatives to detention and imprisonment, participants recommended that bail, probation, reconciliation, compensation and apology be alternatives to detention and imprisonment in minor cases.
Other recommendations included amending customary laws, constructing a juvenile reformatory centre, and providing legal aid to vulnerable groups like women and under-age suspects.
"As legal actors, we want to have a peaceful state where justice is accessible to all," said Mr. Bol. "This is our mandate."
Representing the judiciary, Aweil Central County Judge Awan Makoi Ayuen pledged to release any children under detention.
Participants, who included State Legislative Assembly Speaker Achol William Amuoi and heads of law enforcement agencies, agreed to visit Aweil Central Prison and Machar–Kunyuk detention cells during the next forum.
The meeting was the fifth in a series of monthly forums organized by UNMISS Justice Advisory Section and the UN Development Programme.