Justice on the streets


As of January 31 there were 4303 children in South African prisons. That month, after ‘problems’ at home, Justice, 15, ran away from a small mining town southwest of Johannesburg and ended up in Hillbrow. There, in the early hours of March 15, he was arrested by police for being in possession of housebreaking implements —four pieces of spark plug. These seemingly innocuous fragments of porcelain are used to break car windows. Possession of them is a serious offence. The public prosecutor opposed bail on the grounds that as a runaway Justice had no address to go to. So the Grade 8 pupil was remanded to the overcrowded juvenile section of notorious Johannesburg Prison, better known as Sun City. This is Justice’s account of prison life ...

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