SA has one of highest prison ratios

2010-11-17 22:20

Johannesburg - South Africa has one of the highest percentages of citizens in prisons in the world, the SABC reported on Tuesday.

The country has one of the highest incarceration rates in Africa and in the world with about 3.5 out of 1 000 citizens being in our correctional centres, director of the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons, Morris Coetzee, told Parliament on Wednesday.

He said there was a marked improvement in the reduction of overcrowding in prisons.

Overcrowding, he said, had been reduced from 170% to 139% of prison capacity.

"Now that's significant especially if you consider that world-wide correctional centres are suffering from overcrowding at an increasing number.

"We have reformed from international trends in that regard," he said.

- A previous version of this story stated that SA has the highest percentage of prisoners in the world.

  • william.botha - 2010-11-17 22:49

    Blame it on colonialism...

      Moferefere - 2010-11-18 00:16

      Indeed, and also on apartheid and now ANC-NP PF cronyism

      j.malemmer - 2010-11-18 08:11

      Don't come here with your colonial tendency!

      FuzzyStorm - 2010-11-18 14:21


      Moferefere - 2010-11-18 17:23

      Colonialism, apartheid and ANC-NP PF neo-apartheid have a lot in common that contribute hugely to crime and the prison population: They are based on cronyism and exclude majority from earning an honest living. This may be hard for some who benefited or continue to benefit from this mess, it an inconvenient fact.

      william.botha - 2010-11-18 22:38

      LOL @j.malemmer

      william.botha - 2010-11-18 22:40

      @moferefere are you for real? So what about lamenting in the ashes with a hand stuck out in a begging gesture. As the well known TV add says, KEEP IT REAL.

      william.botha - 2010-11-18 22:42

      @moferefere - they will never learn brother. It's their destiny alas..

      james4usa - 2011-01-31 22:34

      This apartheid issue is puke inducing. WHY TF is incarceration rate for blacks in US 7x that of whites. Black on white robbery 139X, Rape 100x more than the reverse.

      Johan van Zyl - 2011-09-08 07:11

      @james4usa - It is simply genetics and evolution mate.

      claudia.meads - 2012-08-07 17:10

      I would rather blame it on the global "tendency" that came with the liberal post-Mandela era - a global sickness that promotes a 'Planet of the Parasite' (none less by the USA's own communist president - viz Obama, ref link below). This is a planet where bona fide honest hard work and the rewards (accordingly) are increasingly regarded as a "crime"; while simply sitting back and waiting for your "liberal" government to steal from hard-working folks and feeding you fat just to keep them in charge, is now very fashionable. Why should you not resort to crime - the ultimate form of parasitic behavior - when your "parasitic" government is doing it every day, by overt example. Socialism, communism, etc, etc - all are "systems" where the parasite governs the host - it is simply not sustainable, by ANY measure. There is a "war" looming when hardworking people who produce results, will simply cut off the entire parasitic mass (viz the leaching majority) - this minority create a "land" (highly mechanized, automated etc - eg no need for mundane manual labour) that will not only thrive (almost instantly), it will make Apartheid look like the picnic. Inconvenient to face..? Perhaps, but imminent, without a doubt...

      omo.naija.750 - 2012-08-07 17:58

      As usual some of you guys can't leave your racist views out of your comments.I feel sorry for you lot because you live in your little bubbles making up sick theories to please your sick fantasies.Only people with a certain IQ level reason like you folks.Don't worry keep spreading your venom to those people idiotic enough to swallow it.The rest of us sane and intelligent human beings will work together to resolve our societal problems.

  • Macho Mike - 2010-11-17 22:59

    My magtig, really. This has shaken me to the core of my veldskoene.Really, ag sies, is dit so bad Uncle Julius? I say nationalise the prisons, then the media will not be able to verf SA in such a negatif light. I must twitter Mr Zuma and tell him about the latest anti SA scandal doing the dusi, eh i mean rounds.

      Gundaan - 2011-01-31 21:55

      ..& there,s a blerry Groot Krokodil in the Mgeni ( notice politically correct spelling ) kom Fatty malema to our PROUD ZULU area ...pas op jou Donder van die Limpopo af ...Bayete !!

  • PerciusJcksn - 2010-11-17 23:44

    and most released on parole end up at the hotel and spa again after a stressful job hunting and liberation of oppressed objects by the true owners that worked hard to acquire them.

  • Hans-Erik Iken - 2010-11-18 01:20

    As Churchill said: you have lies, damned lies and statistics. This number means nothing unless it corresponds with an equal decline in the crime rate. Otherwise it will only mean that less criminals get caught, or they get released sooner. I am more interested WHY the numbers are decreasing then the single fact that it is (if that is the case).

      Mebob - 2010-11-18 09:49

      I agree 100% with you. To reduce overcrowding, they normally release "petty" criminals.

      scott - 2010-11-18 10:15

      i think building new prisons relieve overcrowding.

      Gundaan - 2011-01-31 21:59

      Statistics can prove anything ....50 % of all marrried couples are women !!

      GinSA1 - 2011-09-08 06:55

      Beep you are out Gundaan. Gay marriage is legal in SA. So that puts the 50% in die rivier

  • Banned - 2010-11-18 02:26

    Makes sense, we also have the highest ratio of criminals in the world. But I doubt they reduced the overcrowding, the probably just released all the awaiting trial prisoners. Look forward to a sudden increase in crime this festive season.

  • jacquesotto - 2010-11-18 03:07

    Hang on. Statistic show a small percentage drop on crime but we see a massive drop in over crowding. The Question is how do we calculate overcrowding. If the prison has prisoners sleeping in the toilets like Krugersdorp is this considered overcrowding or is this all of a sudden seen as a bed. Secondly i think we are just releasing rapist meaning we have more criminals running free. Thirdly how many prisoners are serving rape and murder charges and how many of those has repeated offenses. This is what we want to know not this B.s$%t propaganda. Easy to resolve overcrowding. Sentence the killers rapist and molesters to death and you will see the prisons drop below 100% occupation. Then when you save the money from feeding these baasteds and re prosecuting them you build more prisons. It is not rocket science

      freeflyshannon - 2010-11-18 07:50


      greentl - 2010-11-18 08:25

      I couldn't have said it better!!!

      scott - 2010-11-18 10:19

      bullshit.Texas has the death penalty but people there murder everyday. so dont talk crap.yes its a great dream but you know its not going to happen.

      james4usa - 2011-01-31 22:42

      Hey Scott why do convics fight tooth and nail to avoid D/penalty. Can you imagine what the murder rate would be in Texas with no d/penalty.BTW the Bronx NY where no one has been fried in years has 5x murder rate of Texas.

  • Daniel - 2010-11-18 03:17

    Hmmm - I wonder - If you have a look at international incarceration rates according to Wikipedia, RSA would only be number 23 ( The USA has 7.6 / 1000 population - still more than double the SA rate.

      bluejay - 2010-11-18 12:26

      it's easey to play around with stats.the united states and india easily outstrips south africa in the amount of people murdered per year but south africa tops the list after columbia because of population ratio.

      Bruce - 2011-09-08 06:28

      @ bluejay, unfortunately not quite true, the US has a murder rate of 5/100,000 and population of 312 million, which equates to about 15,600 murders per annum. SA is 34/100,000 with a population of 51 million totalling about 17,340 murders per annum. On the upside though South Africa no longer even makes the top 10 on the list of murder rates -

      P-JB - 2011-09-08 08:43

      Daniel. These stats are somewhat skewed. The reason why the USA has double the incarceration rate of South Africa is because they have a police force that actually does their job and catches criminals and puts them in jail. In South Africa we have a massively understaffed police force and a large percentage of our police are nothing more than incompetent, lazy, undertrained people, some of whom belong in jail themselves. If the law was actually applied in South Africa our prisons would be 2000% overcrowded.

  • AJ - 2010-11-18 06:18

    Adding to the problem: half the ones in prison should not be there, and the ones really deserving of those prison placs are roaming the streets.

      j.malemmer - 2010-11-18 08:12

      Correction: in government

  • David - 2010-11-18 07:10

    This is report is not factual. The US, with an incarceration rate of 7.51 per 1000, is number one. China is second. Morris Coetzee is shameful for feeding parliament this hogwash.

      james4usa - 2011-01-31 23:00

      M Coetzee said "One of the highest"

  • Martin - 2010-11-18 07:17

    How has overcrowding been reduced? New Prisons NO, Education programmes NO Rehabilitation programmes NO AIDS Maybe Early release programmes and privileges that generally see criminals returning to a life of crime and after more police time and taxpayer money being returned to jail for a more violent crime, VIVA ANC – well done on the overcrowding problem. I am sure the prisons will be less crowded with the overcrowding problem be alleviated ‘again’ just before election time.......... No @#%@$# wonder this beautiful country has a crime problem, YOU don’t “even know what to do with the criminals once you have them”

  • haha - 2010-11-18 08:10

    Just bring back the death penalty!

      Janaman - 2010-11-18 09:40

      Agreed: obviously for the harsher convictions such as Rape, murder or human trafficing! the less harsh crimes such as stealing(in any form) or attempted murder should be countered with a removal of the left hand! this may sound inhumain but most crimes in SA are! this is the best prevention, jail is not a good enough cure!

  • Mebob - 2010-11-18 09:53

    I would like to know what it costs us tax payers to keep a single prisoner in jail for a day.Then you do the maths and you will be shocked as to the figure that is required to keep these guys there. They say there is no money for health and education but they find money to feed these criminals. Bring back the death penalty and you will not only reduce numbers in prisons but save so much money that be used elsewhere.The criminals with lesser charge should be maintaining our roads etc.

      Kenko - 2010-11-18 11:19

      Problem is our government actually sympathise with criminals. Prisoners live a life of luxury compared to what they can do for themselves, and many prefer to be in jail rather than work for a living outside. They don't have to do manual labour like before and they get waited on hand and foot. I bet if we throw open the doors quite a lot will just stay put.

  • axeinformation - 2010-11-18 11:27

    If we have overcrowded prisons, throw them in abandoned mineshafts, reopen robben island, kill those that have life sentences, take away their freedom, prison used to be a hard place now it is a place where you get a decent meal, an education and have the right to vote????? WTF?

  • drmmyburgh - 2010-11-18 12:56

    a Judge once said bring back corporal punishment for petty criminals thus give the offender a good hiding under controlled circumstances then let him go free with no criminal record to allow him to go on with his live...they never come back for seconds, this will go a long way to lessen the burden on jails

  • kevick - 2010-11-18 13:22

    Hang the buggers, no more over crowding ,no more highest ratio. Problem solved . Look how easy things can be . No problem

  • Keighley-Ann - 2010-11-18 13:52

    "Overcrowding, he said, had been reduced from 170% to 139% of prison capacity." - is that because goodness knows how many criminals find themselves back on the streets due to bad forensic practices, "lost paperwork" and/ or (take your pick) a pathetic judicial system?!? I'm not bothered about long as you keep the criminals off of the street, you'll have a happy tax payer!

  • khomotsoo - 2010-11-18 15:27

    It shows that south africa is a violent countrty

  • charles.brink.90 - 2012-06-15 16:09


  • hydronamix.airtowater - 2013-08-27 17:16

    With a criminal infused government, why Am I not surprized

  • Arthur Crisp - 2015-08-19 07:31

    I hope that the BEE / AA numbers are correct.

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