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16/12/2003 · Prison: To Punish or to Reform

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27/03/2017 · Prisons: Reform or Punishment

only positivity can come of prisons rather than almost nothing coming from ..
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The East African (Nairobi) 31 Mar 2003 Freed Genocide Convicts Begin Journey Home Nairobi In 1999, five years after the Rwanda genocide, the government set up the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission to reconcile convicts and victims, writes HENRY LUBEGA Andrew Mugabo was found guilty of participating in the 1994 Rwanda genocide but has been pardoned and is now in a solidarity camp undergoing "reorientation." Although he is eager to go home, he is not sure of what reaction awaits him from those who lost relatives in the 100-day massacre. Mugabo's fear is shared by many others in the reorientation camps established around Rwanda to rehabilitate the convicts before they are allowed to return to their families. They are expected to go back to the commune they lived in before being arrested, to apologise publicly and seek forgiveness from the community. "I was forced to kill; I only wanted to stay alive. It is our leaders who should be blamed for what we did, not us," Mugabo told The EastAfrica, as he narrated what had happened in the 100 days of the killings. Mugabo, who gave such a graphic account of the genocide that it was as if it had happened the other day, said he was waiting for the end of the three months he is supposed to spend in the solidarity camp. Aged 53, and from the Muhima commune in Nyarugengye in the prefecture of Kigali village, Mugabo says the day he was told that he was leaving prison to join the solidarity camps, he felt he was in heaven. "A prison is a prison, you cannot compare it with anything else. Even if you are poor and without relatives, home is the best place to be," Mugabo told The EastAfrican in one of the numerous solidarity camps on the outskirts of Kigali. Since January, Rwanda President Paul Kagame has pardoned hundreds of genocide prisoners who have confessed and asked for forgiveness. But before they go back to their communities, they are taken to solidarity camps to be "rehabilitated and taught how the new Rwanda operates." In the camps, they are taught the history of Rwanda, among other things. Fatuma Ndagiza, secretary general of the Reconciliation Commission, which runs the solidarity camps, says the teaching of Rwandan history is meant to show people what Rwanda has gone through and how they can work together to rebuild it. "Many years away from home is not something that people can take so easily," says Ndagiza. "After being out of touch with the ordinary people, there is a need for them to be taught about what the new Rwanda needs. It's not division but unity." Mugabo, who is married with two children aged 30 and 20, says: "I know that I killed, but the blame should not be put on me. Let former government officials and our local leaders who demanded that we fulfil the government programmes come out and stand trial on our behalf." He says it is the public that will be the final judge of their fate. "The crimes were committed against the locals and the government has played its part. Now its up to the communities we are going back to, they will give us the final forgiveness, says Mugabo, who has been so battered by prison life that he looks over 70. Ndagiza, however, says that the people who have been forgiven can be taken back to the Gacaca (community) courts if there is anybody who comes forward with a new complaint against them related to genocide crimes. In 1999, five years after the genocide, the government set up the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission to work towards reconciling the convicts and the victims. However, it was not until recently that President Kagame passed a decree to set free at least 23,000 people who fall in the 2-4 categories of genocide crimes. These categories cover those who killed because they were forced to and have since confessed. There are 18 solidarity camps countrywide, where these people are undergoing what is known as engando (rehabilitation and sensitisation) before they return home. About 12km east of Kigali is Kinyinya solidarity camp, which plays host to close to 1,000 pardoned genocide convicts who are waiting to return home. Ezekeil Mukaragye, 30, from Kicikiro in Kanombe Commune, has been in prison for seven years for genocide-related crimes. It was not until he confessed to having participated in the killing of innocent people that he was pardoned under the presidential decree. He, however, says that as an individual he never killed anyone because he wanted to. It was the only way to survive during those days, he says. "Many people of my ethnic group had been killed because they refused to take part in the killing; so when I was asked to join in I had no alternative but to go ahead and kill," he told The EastAfrican. He says he hopes that when he returns home, everything will be as it was before the genocide. "I know many of my family members were killed during the war but it is time that we looked at each other as Rwandans, as one people, and worked for the good of our country," he says, adding that although he is now left with few relatives, he is ready to face society. "Since I was released from prison and started attending the Ngando, I have realised that we need to work together as Rwandans and that it was the government, that divided us, says Mukaragye. "I went to prison a non-believer but while there I was saved and that is why when they came asking for those who were ready to confess to the crimes they committed, I did not hesitate to go forward and confess." Although Mukaragye is ready to go home he still feels there is a need for the government to do more in terms of educating the masses about the advantages of forgiving so that the past is forgotten for the sake of a new Rwanda.

Prison: to punish, or to reform? – 9A English

Prison: to punish, or to reform
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AP 22 Dec 2001 Four years after massacre, Mexico residents still seeking justice December 22, 2001 ACTEAL, Mexico (AP) -- Many villagers have returned since paramilitaries killed 45 rebel sympathizers in the tiny highland town of Acteal, Mexico, four years ago, and some of the accused killers are in prison. But survivors say the memory of the massacre has not faded. "After four years, our pain has not subsided," said Elena Perez Jimenez, who survived the massacre on December 22, 1997, when members of the a Roman Catholic community group called Las Abejas were attacked at a chapel in Acteal, in southern Mexico's volatile Chiapas state. "On the contrary, it has increased," she said. Survivors fled in fear of more violence, but many returned this year, hoping dialogue could resolve lingering local conflicts between supporters and opponents of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, a mostly Indian rebel group in Chiapas. Mexico's former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party has lost both the presidency and the Chiapas governorship since the massacre. But despite the change, villagers still accuse the government of supporting the paramilitaries and see little hope for a resolution to the conflict. After taking office a year ago, Mexican President Vicente Fox focused on making peace with the Zapatistas, who staged a rebellion in 1994, but talks collapsed after Congress watered down an Indian-rights bill the rebels supported. In Acteal, 6-year-old Efrain Gomez is a reminder of the 1997 massacre. His jawbone was shattered by a rifle bullet in the attack, and today he is unable to talk or chew his food properly. "My poor son isn't happy," said his father, Victorio Gomez, whose wife was killed in the attack. "He is sick. He doesn't eat well." A bullet left Zenaida Jimenez Luna, 9, nearly blind and killed her parents. Today, her uncle Mariano Luna cares for her. Some suspects have been convicted, but the Law Abejas group criticized a judge's decision last month to release six convicted paramilitaries. "It's four years after the massacre, and we don't see any justice," said the group's spokesman, Porfirio Arias Hernandez. At the same time, those convicted of carrying out the massacre say innocent people were sent to prison. "There were only nine people who organized and participated in Acteal, and it pains me that my friends who didn't know anything about this problem have been sentenced to 36 years in prison," convicted paramilitary member Roberto Mendez said in an interview in prison. Mendez said he and others arrived in Acteal to confront alleged Zapatistas he accused of killing 18 Institutional Revolutionary Party members. "It wasn't a massacre," he said. "It was a confrontation with hidden Zapatistas." He claimed the victims -- 21 women, 15 children and nine men -- were simply caught in the cross fire.


Punishment vs. Reform - Term Paper

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WP 28 Jul 2002 Intimidation in Guatemala Papal Visit Comes as Catholics Raise Fears of New Violence By Kevin Sullivan Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, July 28, 2002; Page A22 ANTIGUA, Guatemala, July 27 -- Pope John Paul II is scheduled to arrive in Guatemala on Monday as human rights activists, particularly those associated with the Catholic Church, face increasing death threats and other forms of intimidation aimed at preventing exposure of atrocities committed during the country's 36-year civil war. The church here has played a central role in investigating massacres and other crimes committed during the war, which ended with peace accords in 1996. The fighting, the bloodiest of Central America's civil wars in recent decades, resulted in more than 200,000 deaths and disappearances, most at the hands of the military or paramilitary groups working for the government. The war is no longer raging, as it was when the pope first visited in 1983. But the campaign of violence against the church and rights activists has revived fears that the political and military leaders who ordered or committed the wartime violence -- some of whom are still in power -- will drive the country back to levels of brutality not seen in years. In recent weeks a Catholic bishop, at least six priests and officials in the church's human rights office have received death threats. A Catholic church used to store equipment and records for anthropologists exhuming massacre victims was burned to the ground in February. Other church offices have been broken into. Nery Rodenas, executive director of the Archbishop's Human Rights Office, said he and others in his office have received death threats in faxes to their office and telephone calls to their homes. "It's had a very high cost for us," he said. "The pope's visit is important for us because it's an opportunity to show the world what is happening in Guatemala." A leading Catholic bishop, Juan Gerardi Conedera, was bludgeoned to death in 1998, as a report from an investigation he headed was being released. It blamed the Guatemalan military or its paramilitary forces for more than 90 percent of the country's war crimes. Although the government initially insisted that Gerardi's wounds were inflicted by a dog, three military officers were convicted in the case last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison. A priest was sentenced to 20 years as an accessory to the killing. Last week shots were fired at the courthouses where the officers were convicted and where their appeals are being heard. Frank LaRue, of Guatemala's Center for Human Rights Legal Action, said he believes that the shootings were "linked directly to the pope's visit," because in the government's view, "the visit of the pope is a threat." "Bishop Gerardi and the Catholic Church are symbols of the human rights movement here, and the pope has spoken out against poverty and he has challenged the structures of power here," LaRue said. "This is clearly an act of provocation to the Catholic Church." The government dismisses the violence and death threats as the work of common criminals. "Many of these acts are blown out of proportion and are aimed at discrediting the state, especially in light of the pope's visit," said Byron Barrera, spokesman for Guatemala's president, Alfonso Portillo. The 82-year-old pontiff, on his third visit to Guatemala, officially is coming to canonize Guatemala's first saint, Pedro de San Jose Betancourt, a 17th-century Franciscan friar known as the "St. Francis of the Americas" for establishing a hospital and ministering to poor Mayan Indians. In Guatemala City and here in Antigua, a colonial city just west of the capital, posters of "Hermano Pedro," or Brother Pedro, are pasted everywhere and many cars fly small flags bearing his image. As he has in the past, the pope is also expected to call for improved social justice in a country where the majority of wealth is held by a handful of families and business leaders. The U.N. Development Program says at least 83 percent of the country's 11.5 million people live in poverty. The pope's visit is also seen as another attempt to stem the church's losses to the fast-growing ranks of evangelical Protestant groups, which, according to many estimates, now account for 30 to 35 percent of a population that was once nearly exclusively Catholic. But, more than anything, the pope will bring his message of peace to a country with a violent past that seems to be haunting its present. "Guatemala is continuing down the path of lawlessness and terror," Amnesty International said in a recent report. Last Sunday, the offices of a Guatemala City human rights organization that had been investigating the military's involvement in war crimes was ransacked; six computers were stolen, along with files on the military investigation. In April, an accountant working in the organization of Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, who is pursuing genocide cases against former and current national leaders, was shot dead. Shortly before he was killed, his office received four calls in which anonymous callers played taped funeral music. Human rights workers and journalists received faxes last month threatening the lives of 11 human rights activists labeled "enemies of the state." Four forensic anthropologists examining skeletons and other evidence of atrocities were forced to leave the country in May because of death threats to them and their families. Several lawyers and judges have also been killed under suspicious circumstances. In June, members of the Civil Defense Patrols, which worked with the military during the war and are accused of countless crimes, took over much of Peten province, blocking access to the famous Mayan ruins at Tikal and stranding 62 tourists. The paramilitary forces were demanding back pay for their bloody service to the government during the war. Facing threats of further violence, the government has agreed to explore a new tax to pay them. "Genocide will not return, nor torture nor disappearances, but the situation is grave," Menchu said recently. "True peace has become a myth." The Catholic Church has had an uncomfortable relationship with Guatemala's political leaders since civil war broke out in 1960. Catholic bishops and priests were leading voices against the growing abuses of the military junta, and simply being a Catholic was dangerous during the war. At the same time, the evangelical Protestant movement was growing rapidly. It was personified by Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, who seized power in a March 1982 military coup, then ruled with a mixture of bloody ruthlessness and Scripture quotations. Many of the war's most brutal killings took place during his 18-month tenure. At 76, he still serves as president of Congress and leader of Portillo's Guatemalan Republican Front party. Rios Montt was antagonistic to John Paul II on the pope's 1983 visit. Three days before his arrival, Rios Montt ordered the execution of six suspected leftist rebels despite pleas from the Vatican to spare them. The pope said he felt insulted by the executions, which he called a "very grave offense against God." The pope has spoken out repeatedly against the efforts of evangelical Protestants to convert Catholics. Evangelicals in Guatemala responded by scrawling "The Beast" across promotional posters for the pope's 1983 visit. During his second trip, in 1996, Protestant leaders roamed the countryside with bullhorns calling him "the Antichrist." Some evangelical leaders say they welcome the pope's visit. But others grumble that the government should not have spent nearly $1 million in preparations for a visit by the leader of a single religion. Some said the church, and the pope, have brought the recent violence on themselves. "The truth is that the Catholic people are very political, and it is lamentable that in the name of God they use religion to manipulate people," said David Munguia, a leader of the Evangelical Alliance of Guatemala. "The pope isn't necessarily the Antichrist, but the general feeling is that he is a candidate."

03/09/2009 · Read this essay on Punishment vs
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Debates over how to treat prisoners have gone on since imprisonment began: should the prison system leave inmates to fester in cold cells, with punishment and deterrence as the goal of incarceration? Or should it let them wander from classroom to games room, preaching rehabilitation into society as its main aim? Alan Weston, currently serving his second rape sentence at HMP Frankland, complained to prison newspaper Inside Time this month saying he couldn’t access National Prison Radio (NPR) on his new digital system. Mr Weston’s complaint raises the age-old question – should we give criminals the same basic luxuries we take for granted, or would that be spoiling them?