News24

Prison lifers population explodes

2012-11-19 15:39

Johannesburg - The number of prisoners serving life sentences has jumped by almost 2 400% since 1995, the National Council of Correctional Services said on Monday.

Judge Siraj Desai said there were 433 prisoners serving life sentences in 1995. The figure was now 10 314, a little over 10% of the sentenced population.

He said this created problems on how these prisoners would be dealt with and added to the problem of prison overcrowding.

"What do you do to a lifer who enters the correctional system?" Desai asked.

"Ultimately and the reality is we are going to warehouse [them] in the cruellest sense of that word."

Unconsidered outcome

Desai said that when the country ended the death penalty, it did not consider how it would deal with life sentencing.

Under the current law, such prisoners were eligible for parole after 14 years - only after they convinced authorities that they would not re-offend.

"The likelihood is he will re-offend, unless we are satisfied there is a minimal likelihood of him re-offending, we will not recommend the release of that offender," said Desai.

He was speaking in Boksburg at the national colloquium on overcrowding in prison centres.

Correctional Services Minister Sbu Ndebele told delegates South Africa had the largest prison population in Africa, ranking number nine in the world.

South African had 310 inmates for every 100 000 people. By contrast Nigeria with a population of 166.3 million had only 31 inmates per 100 000 people.

Ndebele said about 30% of the prison population were "remanded detainees" - prisoners awaiting trial.

Comments
  • boltonbarry - 2012-11-19 15:47

    I wonder how many improvments you could have doen with the 200 mil plus that have gone Zippers way

      art5SA - 2012-11-19 18:13

      Imagine how GOOD THE COPS WERE back in 1994..... Kept CRIME in South Africa, to levels NEVER to be seen again.... EVER! Since the ANC took power... most of their SUPPORTERS are the CRIMINALS! Here's the PROOF!!!!

      hugh.robinson.56 - 2012-11-19 18:18

      Hold on though, those who brought up the fact that there will be a cost to keeping murders in prison were ignored by government and pro lifer's. Now that we have defacto proof that the death penalty did work to a point. If in 40 years with about 480 hangings under the NATs is not an indication on the effectiveness of such a law then I would love to know what would be best proof. On the other hand maybe we are being prepared for a mass release?

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-19 20:01

      Nigeria has a low prison population because most of their criminals are here...

  • john.kirkwood.9619 - 2012-11-19 15:47

    we know this becuase the gov is doing nothing about crime bring back the death penalty and savr the honest tax payers some money.

      art5SA - 2012-11-19 18:14

      These FIGURES alone, SHOUT for the return of the DEATH PENALTY!!!!

  • tracey.wheal.77 - 2012-11-19 15:48

    Bring back the death penalty and we wont have such over crowded jails

      johan.jacobs.5680 - 2012-11-19 18:59

      Agree Tracey let's rather invest in grave-yards.

  • ulandi.potgieter - 2012-11-19 15:53

    I know what I'm about to say is ugly but here it goes, So now you saying if they show they are good and wont offend you are going to set them free so now we have to watch out from more nail biting stories to come up to say he has raped again or murdered again or stole again why? why cant they just hang the people for what they did wrong then you will have more space in prison.

  • michael.pitt.100 - 2012-11-19 15:53

    Death penalty must be brought back I don't like paying for criminals ! Kill the bastards

  • robes.spear - 2012-11-19 15:54

    And that is without the ANC parliamentarians. We should open Robin Island again.

      brad.ken.18 - 2012-11-19 16:35

      Not big enough!

      ian.boyd.7503 - 2012-11-19 19:09

      Agreed. But they have to swim across. Tied to a bag of fish bait. The death certificate would simply read "Died of natural causes".

  • paul.wolter - 2012-11-19 15:54

    Surely that would equate to the crime rate also rising by more than 2000 percent since 1995. And only half the criminals are caught nowadays

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-11-19 23:18

      Its estimated that 10% of serious criminal cases are successfully convicted. Between bumbling dishonest cops and our dysfunctional justice system... we can't even trust the NPA to report the conviction rate correctly, they fiddle the numbers by including cases that were removed from the roll as 'resolved'!

  • mike.down.5492 - 2012-11-19 15:55

    Lifers in this country are criminals who sit between 1-3 years it's kinda lost its meaning.

  • craig.ellis.56829 - 2012-11-19 15:57

    Death Penalty is the answer, criminals will think twice if they know they will be executed for their crimes!

  • ben.spreeth - 2012-11-19 16:00

    Keep them on Robben Island. When his parole comes up after 14 years, give him the opportunity, provided he can swim to shore. If he does not make it, sorry.

      christopher.m.lowe - 2012-11-19 16:22

      And she? :-)

  • ashleigh.ronaldon - 2012-11-19 16:01

    Time for ol showerhead to release some buddies

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-19 16:03

    I certainly truly thought they were all ending up in the ANC NEC. Prove SA wrong.

  • Alvin Thomas - 2012-11-19 16:04

    bring back the death penalty so that these lifers and go to the slaughter house

  • majwarha.balakisi - 2012-11-19 16:05

    Who must bring back the Death penalty?

  • shirley.redman.5 - 2012-11-19 16:07

    Nigeria's criminals don't get caught, they come to South Africa.....

  • JohnDough - 2012-11-19 16:07

    The death penalty would solve this.

  • marius.vanwyk.5621 - 2012-11-19 16:08

    Nice one cANCer. Another ridiculous stat added to your record. Now go on.....destroy this country even further.

  • danie.malan - 2012-11-19 16:08

    Because the death penalty has been abolished? And after all, a life sentence doesn't mean life sentence anyhow! Parole & bribes are the passwords....

  • annette.duvenhage.1 - 2012-11-19 16:08

    Now we know where all Nigerie's outlaws are sitting....in our flippen jails....beeing fed fat by the SA ciizens

  • fikile.khoza - 2012-11-19 16:11

    get the lethal injection, I can administer it FREE OF CHARGE...lets put our tax money to good use....

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-11-19 17:02

      Chinese style execution even better, you can send the family the bill for the bullet

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-11-19 23:20

      and those nifty little vans they got..

  • mary.sadler.35 - 2012-11-19 16:12

    So obviously a separate facility is needed for those serving life. How about a security fenced kibbutz in the middle of the Kalahari and let them fend for themselves?

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-11-19 16:14

    Wonder how many arr rastafarians, pot smokers and pot deales... Hemporium SA grows legal weeds viva the dagga couple

      louis.pienaar1 - 2012-11-19 21:29

      How stoned are you???

  • Heino Meyer - 2012-11-19 16:17

    if there is a over population af seals in Namibia they get culled, if there are to many elephants they get culled. The murderers and rapists dont have human rights in consideration so why should we!!!!!! bring back the death penalty and it would sort out the overcrowding of prisons and bring back a bit of respect!!!!

  • christopher.m.lowe - 2012-11-19 16:21

    Why don't they just hang the bastards? That'll soon sort out the 'overcrowding' problem. Save a lot of our money too.

  • canna.discussions - 2012-11-19 16:22

    I see people asking for the death penalty so I have a few questions: 1) Which government will be responsible for moral guidance of such laws? 2) Which policing unit would be doing the investigations (forensic and detective) It baffles my mind to think that people who are constantly on about corruption and incompetence would suggest that those same people institute laws that will allow them to kill. Its naïve to think that innocent life will not be taken this way.

      michael.horton.566790 - 2012-11-19 16:33

      Fortunately our judges are still intelligent! Our calibur of judges are some of the top ranking in the world. I really doubt that a death penalty will be put onto innocent people... It's not the government or the police who will be issuing these sentences...

  • colinwjamieson - 2012-11-19 16:31

    death penalty... these stats are the the motivator for the death penalty. in 1995 there were thus potentially only 443 affected victims and their families. Now there are 10314(at a minimum) victims whose lives are direclty affected. Our society is crumbling and the criminals live on - what about the victims! There is no stat on the lives that have been ruined, how many left parentless, spouseless and with only brokeness to look forward to. What about the victims!

  • thunder.clap.587 - 2012-11-19 16:32

    Wonder how the revolution will yield results with all the comrades locked up

  • marc.ross.965 - 2012-11-19 16:36

    If our prison population is exploding why not give them condoms?

  • phillipmongatane - 2012-11-19 16:36

    One more reason why they should bring back the death penalty!

  • canna.discussions - 2012-11-19 16:37

    Ok so before the biased news24 deleted my comment this is what I had to say: canna.discussions - Just posted Report comment Comments Policy 0 0 I see people asking for the death penalty so I have a few questions: 1) Which government will be responsible for moral guidance of such laws? 2) Which policing unit would be doing the investigations (forensic and detective) It baffles my mind to think that people who are constantly on about corruption and incompetence would suggest that those same people institute laws that will allow them to kill. Its naïve to think that innocent life will not be taken this way. Why does news24 delete this comment but leave racist and derogatory comments? Makes me wonder about the validity of the news!!!

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-11-19 23:24

      you know what, if the ANC will bring back the death penalty when they get majority (because then they can change the constitution) then I might even consider voting for them! And let the cards fall where they may. There will always be wrongful convictions but the majority would deserve what they get. When you've had to clean up the remains of your loved ones it changes your perspective a litte...

  • troXi420 - 2012-11-19 16:37

    To all those who are shouting for the death penalty to come back, please just stop and think about this... You are the same people who (like me) complain that the ANC is completely unable to run a country... The corruption, mis- and non-management, lack of accountability, etc is there for all to see! So ask yourself, do you really want to trust this government with a power such as the death penalty?something

      troXi420 - 2012-11-19 16:45

      Oooops. Typing on the iphone fail... Was supposed to say: Something as serious as taking another's life should not be left to this bunch of clowns. Rather focus on catching the criminals and keeping them behind bars.

  • pboot - 2012-11-19 16:39

    Ya the reason Nigeria has so little inmates is that they get dealt with immediately !!!!! Work it out Govt !!!!

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-19 20:03

      Nope. Their criminals are all here...

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-11-19 16:47

    its the problem with human rights....you allow more and more murderers and rapists to live in order to kill more of the good guys...

  • majwarha.balakisi - 2012-11-19 16:47

    Most people here who thinks by blaming the government for everything will one day rule this country again, lie and say the democratic government is the one that abolished the death penalty. Its the White lawyers including George Bizos who challenge the constitutional court to declare it unconstitutional.

  • maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-11-19 16:51

    Oh gosh, surprise me why don't you. Build a prison in the desert after trial, found guilty, out of society you go. Black, white, colored whoever. Bye!!!!!

  • khethu.ndlovu.3 - 2012-11-19 17:00

    Death penalty seekers, forget it, it will never happen, u can harp all u like. Better still relocate to china u might be happier there, your noise is sooo freakin annoying its like a mozambiquen mosqiuto.

  • john.m.mcdowall - 2012-11-19 17:01

    And showerhead will grant them all amnesty when the system cannot cope. I hope they all head for Nkandla looking for a home.

  • khethu.ndlovu.3 - 2012-11-19 17:09

    As i have said before news24 has specially hired a long bearded farmer just to screen my comments, anything agains the anc is okayed, anything slightly for the anc gets immediate deletal. Clowns running the show!

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-11-19 23:26

      I think the problem is you

  • quarty.vanzyl - 2012-11-19 17:45

    here,s the answer...bring back the death penalty!!!

  • braamc - 2012-11-19 17:47

    They should have got the death penalty

  • Lehlohonolo Ncongwane - 2012-11-19 18:15

    the reason that Nigeria has got a small ratio is because the rest are all here in South Africa.

  • hengu.willemse - 2012-11-19 18:50

    "South Africa had the largest prison population in Africa" so why don't you learn from other African countries like Botswana. "By contrast Nigeria with a population..." - do they even have law enforcement there? "bla bla bla...added to the problem of prison overcrowding." I suppose next week you will want to release them all sooner :<

  • Jack - 2012-11-19 20:11

    ANC==A Nation of Criminals.!!

  • grethe.koen - 2012-11-20 13:58

    Let me state this once and once only: THE DEATH PENALTY WILL NEVER BE BROUGHT BACK IN SOUTH AFRICA, NEVER EVER. So stop whining about it. Let's think of more sustainable and humane ways to keep our prison population in check.

  • ItMayBeSaid - 2012-11-21 19:10

    They should get a handle on this now. States in the U.S. are going bankrupt because of their tough-on-crime, rather than smart-on-crime policies. They fund prison profiteers rather than education and crime prevention. The U.S. now locks up 25% of the world's prisoners but only 5% of the world's population. Good luck to South Africa.

  • ItMayBeSaid - 2012-11-21 19:11

    They should get a handle on this now. States in the U.S. are going bankrupt because of their tough-on-crime, rather than smart-on-crime policies. They fund prison profiteers rather than education and crime prevention. The U.S. now locks up 25% of the world's prisoners but has only 5% of the world's population. Good luck to South Africa.

  • ItMayBeSaid - 2012-11-21 19:19

    Don't know if it relates, but in California the death penalty cost far more than locking people up for life. Life without parole works here. The respected Stanford University found that of those convicted of murder who served their time fewer than 1% ever committed another felony of any kind. Of course, humane nature and the media being what it is, when it happens headlines scream making it seem as if it is a common occurrence.

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