MPS ap­prove hefty penal­ties for prison es­capees

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

the na­tional As­sem­bly this week unan­i­mously ap­proved a draft law which im­poses hefty penal­ties on in­mates who are caught af­ter es­cap­ing prison. the Bill is equally un­for­giv­ing of those con­victed of as­sist­ing in the es­cape.

the draft, which is ex­pected to sail through Se­nate be­fore it be­comes law, was pre­sented be­fore the Lower house of Par­lia­ment on Mon­day by Jus­tice and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Min­is­ter Moeketse Malebo.

Un­der the pro­posed law, a pris­oner who es­capes or at­tempts to es­cape from a cor­rec­tional in­sti­tu­tion is li­able, on con­vic­tion, to a M30 000 fine or 10-year im­pris­on­ment or both.

Any­one con­victed of help­ing the in­mate es­cape would be fined M50 000 or jailed 10 years or both, the Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Bill 2015 fur­ther states.

the draft law also pro­poses a max­i­mum of two, three-year terms for the Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices (LCS) Com­mis­sioner. the com­mis­sioner, the Bill fur­ther stip­u­lates, would be ap­pointed by the prime min­is­ter in con­sul­ta­tion with the cor­rec­tional ser­vices min­is­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Malebo, when en­acted into law, the Bill would bring “mean­ing­ful change” to the LCS and also im­pose mea­sures to de­ter prison-breaks.

reads part of the Bill: “A per­son who es­capes or at­tempts to es­cape from a cor­rec­tional in­sti­tu­tion com­mits a crim­i­nal of­fence and is li­able, on con­vic­tion, to a fine of M30 000 or im­pris­on­ment for a pe­riod of 10 years or both.

“A per­son who aids an in­mate in es­cap­ing or at­tempt­ing to es­cape from a cor­rec­tional in­sti­tu­tion, or a per­son who, with in­tent to fa­cil­i­tate the es­cape of any in­mate, con­veys any­thing into the cor­rec­tional in­sti­tu­tion or to an in­mate, and with in­tent that the thing shall come into the pos­ses­sion of any in­mate, places that thing any­where out­side a cor­rec­tional in­sti­tu­tion, com­mits an of­fense and is li­able, on con­vic­tion, to a fine of M50, 000 or im­pris­on­ment for a pe­riod of 10 years or both.”

the pro­posed law would “serve the pri­mary pur­pose of fa­cil­i­tat­ing the pro­tec­tion and pros- per­ity of so­ci­ety by pro­vid­ing safe, se­cure and hu­mane treat­ment of of­fend­ers in ac­cor­dance with uni­ver­sally ac­cept­able hu­man rights stan­dards, by ac­tively as­sist­ing them in their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, ref­or­ma­tion and so­cial rein­te­gra­tion into so­ci­ety as law-abid­ing cit­i­zens”.

the Bill also makes pro­vi­sion for pro­mo­tions, de­mo­tions and dis­missals as well as dis­ci­plinary mea­sures and con­di­tions of em­ploy­ment in the LCS.

“When en­acted, the Bill would be­come a prin­ci­pal law which is in line with the con­sti­tu­tion and uni­ver­sally ac­cept­able stan­dards in the hu­mane treat­ment of corrections staff and in­mates and re­peal the Ba­su­toland Pris­ons Procla­ma­tion of 1957,” it reads.

“the Bill has also made ad­e­quate pro­vi­sions for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive in­ter­ven­tions such as pa­role, par­don, leave of ab­sence, re­lease on med­i­cal grounds and home vis­its for in­mates.

“the Bill would also curb the dis­crim­i­na­tion of vul­ner­a­ble groups such as ju­ve­niles, for­eign­ers, fe­males, the dis­abled, ter­mi­nally ill and the HIV/AIDS in­fected and af­fected”.

the com­mis­sioner would also be re­quired to present an an­nual re­port de­tail­ing the gen­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion of each cor­rec­tional in­sti­tu­tion and ju­ve­nile train­ing cen­tre; the num­ber of in­mates in each prison; work be­ing done by con­victs; pun­ish­ment im­posed in each prison and why, as well as re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grammes and the wel­fare of pris­on­ers.

Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and Cor­rec­tional ser­vices Moeketse Malebo.

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