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Analyst slams ‘weak judiciary’

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — A sociology lecturer at the National University of Lesotho (NUL), Dr ‘Makhotsang Phokojoe, has blamed a “weak judiciary” for the increasing cases of crime in Lesotho.
In an interview with the Lesotho Times on Tuesday, Phokojoe said the increasing cases of murder have left people living in abject fear.
“Crime and murder cases are increasing at an alarming rate. Society is partly to blame for this behaviour.
“We are now living in fear, wondering who is going to be next,” Phokojoe said.
Phokojoe said although she did not want to criticise the judiciary she questioned why the courts often let hardcore criminals off the hook.
“Suspects get off the hook easily. We have seen people getting arrested for various crimes, including murder. The next time we are walking the streets with them,” she said.
Phokojoe also questioned Lesotho’s criminal rehabilitation system saying it sometimes grooms hardcore criminals.
“Our prison system is run in such a way that a first time shop lifter is thrown into an environment of hardcore criminals, some of whom have been imprisoned before.
“Instead of having them rehabilitated, they become hardened criminals and commit even bigger crimes because they come out bitter due to their experiences inside.
“If only our prison system could be in such a way that criminals are kept according to the nature of crimes they have committed.”
Phokojoe said slapping long prison sentences on criminals was not the panacea to dealing with crime.
She said a system that only sought to punish rather than rehabilitate offenders, would be seriously flawed.
“It would just bring more trouble. It would only be best if the community, the government and all other human rights institutions work together to rehabilitate lawbreakers so that they come out responsible citizens,” she said.

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