Prosecution mulls alternatives to jail terms

Published by Théophile Niyitegeka
On 25 November 2016 saa 07:49
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The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) officials have said that crime rates are increasing over time with cases building from 23,344 files in 2011 to 28,268 files in 2014 which has raised expenses spent on convicts. The conviction rate stands at 92.5%.

This was revealed yesterday as the National Prosecution Authority in collaboration with Rwanda National Police presented research results that was aimed at identifying the causes of crime growth in the country, challenges faced by crime preventers and possible solutions.

Drug abuse, domestic violence and sexual abuse are among the top crime engines.

Through the research, the NPA unveiled a plan to study new forms of correcting convicts other than putting them in jail.

Talking to IGIHE after presentation of the research, the National Prosecutor, Richard Muhumuza said that the expected new form of punishment which has to be implemented after counseling is likely to reduce expenses spent on prisoners and shape their mindset.

“We do not mean to say that imprisoning will be banned; but we acknowledge that there are other forms of punishment other than jail. This will help to counter overcrowding in prisons. Expenses on inmates are big yet they are not productive. This new form might also help easy and total reform of offenders. The issue requires discussions and revising laws. I think it can be attained. ” he said.

The possibility to adopt new form of correcting offenders was also highlighted by Wibabara Charity, a prosecutor at national level and one of the team members that carried out the research.

“ We have realized that prisons will be full if we continue to send in convicts while the law grants other forms of punishments including charging fines and mediating the offender and the victim without necessity for prison. This reduces government expenses on offenders in jail and a better reconciliatory practice,” she said. ,” she said.

Wibabara however explained that the form can’t be applied across all crimes as heavier crimes have to receive particular punishments.

Rwanda already has Community Service for Prisoners (TIG), a form of punishment where convicts are released to serve part of their jail time through community work.

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The Prosecutor General, Richard Muhumuza