Inmates must be sent back legally, says minister

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MINISTER for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven said Government will step up efforts to ensure prisoners are sent back to the community legally – whether on parole, release of license or power of mercy.
He said this on Saturday at the Bomana prison’s female wing during the release of license for a woman prisoner, Esther Ere.
“Our people expect us to work, monitor and to do our best to ensure that our people who are serving prison terms, be rehabilitated, reformed and to ensure they prove that they are capable to be released whether on parole or license, power of mercy – those processes must be allowed to happen,” Steven said.
“The last time that any one was released on the power of license, was in 2016.”
Release on license is for those who are very old prisoners at the age of 50 and above and for those who are sick.
He said the same laws that enabled justice for law breakers also applied to those in prison.
“The same law that is enforced to ensure that there is order in our society also recognises the rights and the opportunities for those who are in correctional institutions to be released.
“In the case of license, or release of license, there is a procedure and process and that involves the prisoners, SC officials, committee that sits to hear applications for release of license and it involves, a decision that reaches me.
“Since this Government was put in place, we have heard three meetings now, and I am happy to say that the committee has been directed to ensure that they work frequently and work with the CS institutions to hear more cases. “The parole board has been more active in the last two years.”
Meanwhile, the parole board is now preparing to hold its fifth board meeting for the year.
Board chairman and secretary for Justice and Attorney-General Dr Erik Kwa said the board had five meetings in the last six months at Bihute Prison in Goroka and the other four at Bomana.
“In the second meeting, the board considered 26 applications at the Bihute prison, 17 were granted, one was refused, three deferred, one withdrawn, four discharged on remission and one deceased,” he said.