The Law Commission said on Tuesday that the absence of legislation on Spent Conviction is undermining the reintegration and incorporation of ex-convicts into society as a critical process towards the development of this nation.
Chairperson of the Special Law Commission on the Development of Legislation on Spent Conviction Justice Charles Mkandawire said this in Lilongwe during a one-day regional consultative workshop held at Lilongwe Hotel.
The concept of spent conviction entails removing from records a conviction upon completion of sentence.
“In the absence of spent conviction, a criminal record continues to haunt an ex-convict despite serving a sentence to its fullest and lawful extent.
This conviction record continues to punish a person by stigmatising him or her in relation to reintegration and incorporation into society,” Justice Mkandawire said.
He further said that this result in many of them failing to contribute to the development of this nation since they are denied a number of opportunities.
“They struggle to get employment, meaningfully engage with society or enjoy meaningful participation in the social, economic and political opportunities that life has to offer,” Mkandawire said.
The Law Commission is in the process of consulting various stakeholders in the development of this legislation and it is expected to source inputs from the public through its secretariat and other approaches like workshops.
“We want to seek input at all levels so that we can develop a good balance of the various competing interests that the scheme of this law affects,” he said.
On whether the commission has specific offences and sentences that the proposed legislation to spent conviction is targeting to address, Mkandawire said that it is up to the general public to make suggestions on which offences to avoid compromising with other legislations and the enjoyment of human rights.
In her remarks, one of the commissioners in this special commission Gertrude Hiwa said that consultative process is one way of promoting stakeholder and public participation in the law reform process.
“The process account for public ownership, awareness and support from the general public while at the same time reflecting the wishes and aspirations of Malawians,” Hiwa said.
The development of the legislation on spent conviction is part of the broader framework of criminal justice reforms that include the review of the Penal Code, the review of Police Act, the development of Legislation on Fines.
The exercise is being funded by the European Union’s Democratic Governance programme (DGP).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :