“You’re a good man, and you’re a changed man, and that makes a huge difference in my decision today…. You’re not the man you were fourteen years ago,” said Brown. “I believe that continuing to [incarcerate you] serves no purpose” — here there were gasps and tears from the Anderson family — “I think it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. I think it would unnecessarily punish an obviously rehabilitated man.”
This story is totally ridiculous. The entire point of a justice system should be to reform criminals so that they can return to society. Now I’ve heard of story where a man, due to an error, was not sent to jail. In the meantime though, he hasn’t been out committing crimes. He started a family, started businesses, made no attempt to hide and has essentially been a model citizen. When he was going to be released, they realised he wasn’t in jail and arrested him. Now they want him to server his 13 year sentence. More details available from the Riverfront Times here and here. That is totally pointless! It’s pure retributive “justice” that seeks only to punish. It’s ethically indefensible and serves absolutely no practical purpose.
DNA as seen during gel electrophoresis (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
South Africa has a serious problem with crime and DNA profiling offers a real chance to do something about it by providing accurate and reliable evidence. There is currently a push to bring in a legal framework to deal with this issue and, as I’ve stated previously, I support the DNA Bill and signed the petition. However, it’s important not to lose sight that these advances come at a trade-off between security and privacy. The DNA Project itself has noted opinions on both side of the spectrum; from a piece from the US that suggests a mandatory DNA database would be ideal to a comment from someone who refused to sign the petition because arrestees are innocent until proven guilty. I think the South African DNA Bill has done a good job of trying to balance privacy and security but I do want to warn against the dangers of sacrificing privacy for security. Continue reading →
We have a serious problem with crime in South Africa but there is currently an opportunity to do something about it, or at least put much-needed framework in place. The DNA Project has been pushing for parliament to pass the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill B2-2009 or DNA Bill. Although DNA profiling was first used in 1986, South Africa has no legislation regulating DNA evidence. The DNA Bill seeks to address the issue by creating legislation focussed on biological evidence, particularly DNA, establishing a national DNA database and putting in place the necessary policies and oversight of such a database. Continue reading →
Weekends are generally rather slow but for anyone that does visit, here are a few interesting titbits. Links cover UCT, Voyager space probes, Pakistan blasphemy case and criminal justice in South Africa. Continue reading →
Building on my previous post regarding drugs I wrote a letter to the newspaper which was published this week. This post by Thomas Kleppestø shares some similar points and some new ones and may also be of interest to readers. The following is the letter I wrote which was published in the Southern Suburbs Tatler on 5 July 2012. Continue reading →
Today is International Day Against Drug Abuse and Patricia De Lille, mayor of Cape Town, was interviewed on Morning Live about her rap against drugs and the city’s efforts to combat drugs. I don’t have the whole transcript of the interview but I want to focus on one of the things she said in particular, that drugs worked because of supply and demand and that the city was going to go after the supply. That is a very bad way to go about tackling the problem. Continue reading →