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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74344 Find in a Library
Title: Alternatives to Imprisonment - Papua New Guinea (From Corrections in Asia and the Pacific, P 181-188, 1980, William Clifford - See NCJ-74330)
Author(s): H Tokam
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This article summarizes the present status of the court structure in Papua New Guinea, identifies the alternatives to imprisonment presently available, and sketches the intents of a law reform commission to formulate a future criminal code.
Abstract: In Papua New Guinea, the legal system operates on two levels. One is the traditional or customary law system, which functions within the bounds of village courts, and the other is the legal system imposed by the State. The village courts recognize customary means of settling disputes in the village community, and the decisions of the local village magistrates constitute the alternatives to imprisonment currently practiced in the country. Prescribed offenses arbitrated at village courts include taking the property of another; striking another person; using insulting works or conduct; damaging trees, plants, or crops; drunkenness; sorcery; and others. Orders for imprisonment are issued to an offender only when that offender has failed or has refused to comply with a village court order. Village courts, however, have no jurisdiction to send to prison those who have failed to obey their rulings. The order for imprisonment must first be endorsed by the district court, representing the legal system of the State. Probation as an alternative to imprisonment was instituted in December 1979 and is intended for offenders with long prison sentences. The legal system of the State transcends village boundaries and is frequently beyond the grasp of the people. While the formal system is in the process of establishing itself, the customary laws maintain social solidarity at the grassroots level. A law commission is presently in the process of integrating the two systems. Imprisonment is one of the concepts new to the traditional community and for this reason such alternatives as community work and compensation are likely to be implemented effectively in the future. Four references are provided.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Court system; Papua New Guinea; Socioculture; Tribal court system
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