Rwanda’s cabinet this week approved parole for 649 prisoners, after they had served a quarter of their sentences. This sure is the best incentive for other prisoners still in custody to behave better.
The paroled prisoners have not been given full amnesty, technically meaning, they are still prisoners and their release will be under strict supervision, with zero tolerance to any form of misbehavior.
They are not completely off the hook; they still have to prove that they are capable of further reforming, as they get reintegrated into society.
This however also serves as an incentive for the more than 2000 applicants who did not qualify for parole this time round, to behave better. All is not lost for them.
The country needs more men and women out of prison and contributing to the economic development on which the country has embarked as both part of the labour force and paying taxes.
Many of those released being beneficiaries of the inmate’s education programme, they have been taught to read and write, some have even specialized in some courses, giving a possibility of them being gainfully integrated into the country’s economic development.
They can fend for themselves and their families. Keeping hordes of productive people in prison is burdensome to both the government that has to cater for them and wasteful of taxpayers money which can be directed to other areas to the benefit of the whole nation.
However, there is the overriding need to maintain law and order. Giving prisoners parole or even amnesty has to be based on very strict conditions, as we cannot afford criminals that are beyond redemption back on our streets and into our societies.
There has to be caution that the good behavior at the time of qualifying for parole could be bait for some form of freedom to go back into criminal activity. We have had senior officials escape from police custody, meaning the system is not one hundred percent full proof.
Meaning of the 600 plus out on parole let’s all operate under the notion that perhaps the system was not one hundred percent full proof, in their screening. They continue to be regarded as criminals until they prove to our society otherwise.
The burden of proof lies on their shoulders, and we proceed with caution.