MAPUTO, Dec 10 (BERNAMA-NNN-AIM) -- The Mozambican Justice Ministry is preparing the introduction of norms whereby courts can grant alternative punishments to prison, says Justice Minister Benvinda Levi.
Opening a seminar in Maputo Monday on alternatives to prison, she said this would take the form of compulsory community service. The measure will cover first offenders found guilty of crimes which carry prison sentences of up to eight years.
Levi added that currently Mozambique's overcrowded jails had a population of between 15,000 and 16,000 prisoners. Around 11,000 were serving sentences while the remainder were awaiting trial. Of the convicted prisoners, 40 per cent were serving terms of eight years or less.
"In all, about 5,000 prisoners would not be in jail if these measures were being applied today," she said.
The introduction of alternative penalties, said Levi, seeks to re-integrate offenders into the community so that they have the opportunity to redeem themselves in the eyes of society. She appealed for community support in the reintegration of offenders.....