Wits Justice Project receives foreign research colaborative

FOREIGN FINDINGS: Jennifer Rae Taylor conducts research in South Africa and the United States of America to compare justice systems.

Taylor, who contacted the Wit Justice Project almost a year ago, has been touring South Africa for two months in order to interpret how the past has influenced the justice system in the country and to furthermore compare it to that of the USA.

“People have created stories based on the past that would justify why people who were incarcerated should not be seen as complete people and therefore not have the same rights as everyone else,” explains Taylor.

Taylor has travelled from Joburg to Pretoria and everywhere in between, conducting interviews with criminals, law makers and defenders of the law in South Africa, only to come to a very pleasing conclusion about justice in our country.

She tells her audience that South Africans are so focused on creating a system that reflects that in the USA, that they are overlooking the fact that the justice system in their own country is better than in the USA.

She commends South Africa for bringing in the Truth and Reconciliation Act that allowed convicts to apply to be released once apartheid ended, but found an interesting pair of prisoners who did not apply for this as the crimes that they had committed at the time were, in fact, deemed illegal.

These two men chose to serve their full-time sentence despite their new rights which were implemented after the end of the reign of the apartheid government.

“South Africa is still very young and this puts you ahead of us, in the USA, as you still have time to develop and create a fair and operational justice system.”

Taylor suggests that South Africa has, thus far, changed the surface of judicial institutes that enforce the law, but not the core values.

“Until the values of the institutes change, [despite its considerable progress so far] South Africa can not expect to move forward.”

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Racine Edwardes

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