SA has most inmates in Africa

2013-03-04 08:47
Sibusiso Ndebele (Picture: GCIS)

Sibusiso Ndebele (Picture: GCIS)

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Polokwane - South Africa has the biggest prison population in Africa and the ninth biggest in the world, according to the World Prison Brief.

Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said over the weekend that 30% of these inmates are awaiting trial, Beeld reported.

Every month, about 23 000 inmates are released, but another 25 000 enter the system.

Ndbele added that a total of 64 959 offenders are not currently incarcerated, with 48 323 being out on parole, 14 917 being provisionally released and 1 719 awaiting trial.

James Smalberger of the department of correctional services said these statistics didn’t take into account criminals who were serving other kinds of sentences or had been released on bail.

"There is still a large number of people who are not locked up. Some are doing community service for punishment while others are on bail or parole,” he said.

Most prisoners were young black men and 53 000 were youths, Ndebele said.

“There are many 17-year-olds found guilty of serious crimes. They have left school, are illiterate and homeless.”  

The minister added that it costs R8 000 a month to keep a prisoner in jail.

Ndbele said there had been an increase in the number of women jailed for murder of their husbands or boyfriends and many of these were in jail with their daughters, who in many instances were accomplices in the crimes. The children were often victims of violence by their fathers.

Read more on:    correctional services  |  sibusiso ndebele  |  prisons

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