SA inmates serving longer sentences

2012-03-05 13:01

Johannesburg - There has been a 2 400% increase between 1995 and 2011 in the number of prisoners serving sentences longer than 10 years, according to an SA Institute of Race Relations survey.

"The number of people in prison has been rising since 1995, putting increasing pressure on prisons in the country," the institute's Kerwin Lebone said in a statement.

The institute based its finding on data from the correctional services department.

"While the re-introduction of minimum-sentence legislation in 1997 had a significant effect on the duration of sentences, it is not clear whether the rise in the prison population is due primarily to more criminals being sentenced or the increase in the average length of sentences being served."

The number of prisoners serving sentences shorter than six months has decreased by 90% since 1995, the institute said in a statement.

"Prisoners serving sentences of between five and seven years also decreased, by more than 40%... The number of people serving life sentences, which stood at 433 in 1995, had risen to 10,349 by 2011, an increase of no less than 2 290% over the period."

According to the report, in 1995 over 70% of sentences served did not exceed 24 months. Only two percent of prisoners were serving sentences of more than 10 years.

Since 1995 the total number of people in prisons, both prisoners and those awaiting trial, increased by 44%.

Prison accommodation increased at a slower pace than the prison population, leading to a 37 percent degree of prison overcrowding in 2011.

  • Martinus - 2012-03-05 13:15

    This fact alone should show even the most blinded liberal retard that the ANC is a failure.

      Stan - 2012-03-05 13:22

      you your apartheid gov was a great success? How more retarded can you be...

      Kraken - 2012-03-05 13:33

      @Stan Look at the dates. From 1995 to 2011. 2400% increase. Even the dumbest of dumb fools can derive the obvious fact which Martinus pointed out.

      ChristopherGlenHarrison - 2012-03-05 13:39

      More people are being convicted to longer prison terms...does that strictly point to a failure on the part of the ANC? Surely a more damning report would say that this rise had actually not happened, in spite of the rise in serious crimes?

      ChristopherGlenHarrison - 2012-03-05 13:41

      And just to be clear here, I'm not taking any sides, or defending anyone. I regard pretty much all of our political parties with equal contempt.

      Mike - 2012-03-05 13:49

      Yip Stan, look at the dates (1) and then at the stats (2)! But I guess free board and lodging including Eishkom, food, recreational, etc. must be very attractive, especially for the unemployed! BTW: IF you are a tax payer? Then realise YOU pay for his "rent"!

      Fidel - 2012-03-05 13:56

      @Christopher Racism pumps adrenalin into the brains of its victims with unusual aplomb.

      E=MC2 - 2012-03-05 13:57

      Stan - no one said Apartheid was a success... we're saying the ANC is sh1t!

      Fredster - 2012-03-05 13:58

      This shows that you have to have a form of deterent against crime. You need a death sentence, or a life sentence that actually means LIFE, without parole

      Justme - 2012-03-05 14:08

      Increase in serious crime, hence the longer sentences. Bring back the death penalty already!

      Peter-Peter - 2012-03-05 15:12

      Blinding...or people have been committing more serious crimes...because of 'what the white man left behind', because of greed, because of people tired of broken promises and would rather commit crime than vote for a different party/vote for change. I admire your optimism, but i think that its blatantly obvious that the ANC 'supports' crime in general. The people are very angry...and the ANC really knows how to rub salt on the wounds.

      Morama - 2012-03-05 17:51

      @Blinding,that's the exact explanation of all....most of the trollers here just want to blame ANC for evrything!!! Am not ANC supporter neither fan but to comment stupidly is not the way to go!!!

      Morama - 2012-03-05 17:56

      @mike,YOU MUST JUST GET THIS THROUGH YOUR STUPID THICK SKULL.YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE PAYING TAX SO STOP YOUR NONSENSE OF TAX PAYING AND $###IT. We all wish to have a different party to rule this country but by keeping flying division like the way you do is not taking this country noway forward.SO STOP YOUR STUPID IRRITATING REPEATATION AND WORK TOWARDS UNITING SOUTH AFRICANS UNLIKE DIVIDING THEM!!!

      paulmandlankosi - 2012-03-05 19:02

      Come 2014 that failure will get my vote

      Mike - 2012-03-07 17:39

      @ Morama: Before judging someone you don't know and call names, go and look in the mirror first! As long as people blame apartheid for every failure? I will blame the anc, corruption and non-tax payers! So go and get a chill-pill ol' pal!!

      eugenedigter.terreblanche - 2012-05-17 07:48

      @Stan, given objective social and economic indicators under the previous government compared to real life data. The "Apartheid gov" was a real success. That's of course something that "liberals" like to ignore.

  • - 2012-03-05 13:25

    That's a shocking statistics.......

      Poloyatonki - 2012-03-05 14:44

      It show that the police are doing their job.

      Peter-Peter - 2012-03-05 15:33

      Poly...if you manage to somehow get into a 'money bin', those machines at the casino), you obviously going to walk out with pockets and hands full...because there is a lot of money to grab. NOW, take the same comparison, but with criminals...if there are MANY, then MANY will be caught. So iven if they are doing a HALF-A$$ job, they would still look like they are doing a good job

      Bibi - 2012-03-05 15:48

      Only shows that they do not have political connections.

      Morama - 2012-03-05 17:59

      SAPS AT IT'S BEST!!!

  • Christian J Denyschen - 2012-03-05 13:26

    no stan no one said any thing about apartheid i think that the facts speak for them self here, it doesn't mater who's running the country there is something wrong here!

      E=MC2 - 2012-03-05 14:00

      Stan is diverting attention from the fact that ANC is useless by delving into our colourful past - as all quality BEE candidates do!

  • abner.malema - 2012-03-05 13:27

    Everything is ANC. It shows that the present government is serious about crime eradification unlike the Apartheid regime

      spartanx93 - 2012-03-05 13:32

      The ANC could not organize a piss up in a brewery. Rape & murder statistics are still through the roof.

      Kraken - 2012-03-05 13:36

      Or the intensity and magnitude of crimes in SA has skyrocketed. Which one is more believable? ANC might be say they are serious about crime, but criminals have thrown caution to the wind since ANC is all bark and no bite.

      Juan - 2012-03-05 13:46

      @abner this is kinda like a mixed bag. I don't know what the statistics were pre 94, but there definitely seemed to be a lot less crime. During the apartheid years there were also the death penalty, as apposed to a life sentence. You also didn't have 27 000 officers in the police that couldn't shoot. Look at least a 2400% increase in prison population shows that criminals are being caught and put behind bars, instead of being on the streets commiting crimes.

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 13:48

      spartanx93, while the stats are still high, they are on the decrease. Since 2003 murder dropped from 19824 to 15940 per year. Just under 20% which is pretty good. Total sexual offences has little change from 66079 to 66196 per year.

      Mike - 2012-03-05 13:51

      Tjomma? You must be one of those HUGE failures in maths!! Do you know what "2,400% increase" means?

      Marion - 2012-03-05 14:25

      It is more than unfortunate that it is poorly implemented border policies that have escalated crime to the level it is at. However, I think that these statistics, whilst horrifying, at least show us that people are passing through the justice system and are getting very long sentences. For years we have complained about crime and then when we see these stats which, to my mind, indicate that crime is being dealt with, we complain about the fact that there are so many criminals to begin with.

      Hugo - 2012-03-05 17:45

      Spartan They are still through the roof because they are reported.That is the first part.Second part is dishing the sentences,which is the gist of this article.Still battling to see how the ANC has failed in this regard.

  • Peter - 2012-03-05 13:29

    Is there any coincidence of when the gun laws came into affect that eliminated Mr Joe Public the right to defend him/herself with a gun?

  • Arthur - 2012-03-05 13:29

    Build more prisons. It would create more jobs.

      mmakgaboe - 2012-03-05 13:41

      I totally agree with you. And Stan, the race card is really uncalled for. These stats are really shocking! Sadly this seems like a situation that has spiraled out of control hey. Not that im pessimistic about the future but like most problems we have, i don't see this one being solved.

      E=MC2 - 2012-03-05 14:01

      BUT using the tax payers money! Death penalty....

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-03-05 15:06

      the prisoners must build their own new prisons and the public can just supervise...everyone wants to be boss anyway

      Morama - 2012-03-05 18:12

      @ Emc.....stop your stupid line"Tax payer"...,black people were paying leave your crap if your mind is exhausted if this is very complicated matter to comment about? I am not living in the past but present and hoping that by uniting our kids would have brighter future!!! Or maybe you are one of those who's kids are in the camps getting trained to hate stop ur stupidity!!!

  • spartanx93 - 2012-03-05 13:30

    How about a 2400% increase in sending these felons to the gallows!

      Kala - 2012-03-05 13:49

      I think thats the reason for the increase. In the past we would have hung the rapists and murderers and not let them fill up our prisons and live off the tax payer.

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 14:53

      Kala, murder and sexual offences make up less then 4% of the total crimes. So executing them is not going to make much of a difference to the prison population.

      Kala - 2012-03-05 15:45

      nspaynter - Let's start with 4%. It means 4% less spent on housing the scum which will result in a substantial saving over say 10 or 15 years. Furthermore it will surely give prospective murderers and rapists a little more to think about before they commit their crimes.

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 18:15

      Kala, unfortunately a prospective murderer or rapist doesn't stop to think of the consequences of his or her action. It's not a deterrent. In fact if I was given a choice of spending 25 years or more in prison or a death sentence, I would probably choose execution. I am an ex prisoner and I can assure you it's no party.

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 18:19

      And, Kala, I believe prisoners should be working towards the cost of their accommodation. Drakenstein, formerly Victor Verster, is an example of a working prison where prisoners work in agriculture, carpentry, steel work and clothing manufacturing. They get a small stipend but the rest goes to the cost of their upkeep.

  • Mike - 2012-03-05 13:37

    bring back the death penalty so our tax money can stop paying for the scum of the earth to eat and have shelter

      E=MC2 - 2012-03-05 14:02


      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 14:54

      Mike, murder and sexual offences make up less then 4% of the total crimes. So executing them is not going to make much of a difference to the prison population.

      Mike - 2012-03-05 15:58

      wow aren't we smart nspaynter!! All I ever read about on this site is murder and rape!! maybe check your percentage figures before getting to excited! these dogs have ruined people's lives and should not be kept alive! the death sentence with bring down ALL crime very quickly and get these low life's off our streets for good regardless of the crimes!

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 16:27

      Mike, The latest SAPs statistics for 2010/11 show that there were 15940 murders and 66196 sexual offences reported. The total crimes for the year was 2125072. While the number of murders are still incredible high, they have at least dropped since 2003 by just under 20% which is very good. Sexual offences have not changed much. These are crimes reported and don't indicate the number of arrests.

      spartanx93 - 2012-03-05 17:26

      @nspaynter - you seem quite contenct with the rape & murder statistics. It does not matter if they only make up 4% of the total crimes. It is 4% to much!!

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 18:26

      spartanx93, if you read my other comments you will note that I am NOT content with the numbers of murders and rapes. They are far too high. I am just trying to be realistic. A 20% drop in murders is good. We need to have the same with sexual offences. My fight is with the increase in drug related crimes in the WP which are continuing to rise (254% since 2003) and little is being done about it.

  • raegan.mcreed - 2012-03-05 13:41

    well our tax money is giving these scum 3 meals a day and plenty of soap for their victims to pick up in the showers...'EIna !!

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 18:41

      Two meals a day with another of bread and pink stuff spread on it.

  • John - 2012-03-05 13:42

    All this shows is that minimum sentences have taken away the court's discretion to let off murderers and rapists lightly. At least they are getting their just rewards. But if murder and rape were rewarded with the death sentence, overcrowding wouldn't be a problem and these goons, who are usually repeat offenders, would be out of circulation for good. Its incomprehensible that the taxpayer has to support them in prison where they are fed, clothed and given the best medical care possible while their victims (those not dead!) and the victims families suffer. Why is the obvious solution - bring back the death penalty - so incomprehensible to the ANC? If they want to change the Consitution, here is one thing we will all support. The jails should be full of those who are corrupt and who steal from us, the public. But suppose that means the ANC would be ruling from prison :)

      StarStruck - 2012-03-05 14:47

      There are so many countries that still have the death penalty and this is not the solution. I am confident that the 2012 budget forecast for the next 3 years included the upgrading and expansion for our prison facilities. The next step would then be to ensure that the punishment fits the crime. Better police training would then ensure that vital crime scene evidence actually get recorded and remain in police hands until the trail starts, whereas the current situation is plagued by bribes and payoffs to tamper with evidence.

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 14:55

      John, murder and sexual offences make up less then 4% of the total crimes. So executing them is not going to make much of a difference to the prison population.

      StarStruck - 2012-03-05 15:39

      nspaynter - Can you please provide any kind of proof for your statement. I fail to believe that only 4% makes up the crimes that in fact instil 10 year and greater sentences. Are you saying that out of the 10 000 inmates serving life sentences that only 4% are murderers and rapists? This from a country with a World record for crimes against its people which include rape and murder?

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 16:07

      StarStruck: The latest SAPs statistics for 2010/11 show that there were 15940 murders and 66196 sexual offences reported. The total crimes for the year was 2125072. While the number of murders are still incredible high, they have at least dropped since 2003 by just under 20% which is very good. Sexual offences have not changed much. These are crimes reported and don't indicate the number of arrests.

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 16:09

      StarStruck: there are many criminals who have committed other offences like car theft, robbery and drugs who are also getting long sentences. Especially for re-offence.

      ChristopherGlenHarrison - 2012-03-05 16:47

      We will not 'all' support it. I, for one, do not support the death penalty. What is it that the government does so well, that makes you so eager to give it the ability to start legally killing its citizens?

  • stalin.rudolf - 2012-03-05 13:46

    i thought before the anc took over they wanted the judiciary to pass lighter sentences to offenders. after they took over they actually introduced heavier sentences even for petty crimes without considering the burdern on the correctional services infrasture. drunken driving, shoplifting, and some crimes that were not carrying heavy penalties now carry such.

  • Bigwolf - 2012-03-05 13:48

    So you get to spend some time in jail, think of all the wealth parties you can have till you get arrested not to mention have a great chance getting kicked out of court or at least three years befoe you have to go in, who needs to work 9-5 just steal and take what you want. LOL

  • Koos - 2012-03-05 13:52

    mmm... and again..... anc took over when....... and made the law so that they cant be touched that badly so the criminals know this ...... mmmm makes one think!

  • E=MC2 - 2012-03-05 13:56

    The headline should read: "SA inmates committing more serious crimes because the SA judiciary system is absolutely crap"

      Hugo - 2012-03-05 17:49

      no,that is a complete distortion

  • guyt1 - 2012-03-05 13:58

    Hang the killers ....

      E=MC2 - 2012-03-05 14:03

      yiiiip! How much money could we put back into the economy if we didnt have to feed murderers & rapists??!!

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 14:56

      MrGuy T, murder and sexual offences make up less then 4% of the total crimes. So executing them is not going to make much of a difference to the prison population.

  • Donald - 2012-03-05 13:58

    The apartheid government sentenced more to death

      Hugo - 2012-03-05 17:50

      99% were black,just saying

  • Victoria - 2012-03-05 14:03

    Stan, why don't you do all of us a favour and jump in the lake. The article say that "Since 1995 the total number of people in prisons, both prisoners and those awaiting trial, increased by 44%." What does that tell you?

  • bheki.dingiswayo - 2012-03-05 14:07

    The survey should have also added the cost of keeping those inmate idling in prison that would be more helpful then complaining about inmates accomodation. It is by choice that are person find herself or himself inside the prison. I sometimes wonder why do we use these free labourers to maintain roads- not using machines, building of RDP houses and infrastructure so that we create a culture of working.

      butch.poulter - 2012-03-05 14:44

      Well said Bheki this should have been implimented long ago. But then again we would be infringing on the rights

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 15:15

      Ultimate all prisoners should be working for their upkeep. There are some working prisons like Drakenstein (formerly Victor Verster) They are mainly into agriculture and supply other prisons with food, they also have workshops for carpentry, steel work and clothing manufacture. The clothing section had a project where they made clothes for underprivileged children. The prisoner gets a small stipend and the rest of the profit goes into their upkeep. That should be the prison of the future. But it needs more staff and new prisons with proper infrastructure.

      Vernon - 2012-03-05 21:50

      bheki ..and if these things dont want to work on the roads etc.flog them? no... walls and iron bars are good enough..thanks

  • kevin.moreland2 - 2012-03-05 14:12

    do prisoners pay tax?

      Sean - 2012-03-05 14:15

      no but they can vote

      Bomb - 2012-03-05 14:44

      They get a bed, food, electricity, shower, gym, tv, recreation, education, medical and legal help. Without paying one single cent. Can you see why they would rather go to jail than live under a tree. And we pay for it all.

      Bigwolf - 2012-03-05 15:26

      @Sean so right and who would vote anything else but, for those who give them free food shelter and medical> vote ANC and get parrol shortly after.

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 15:39

      When they make purchases in the prison shop they pay VAT.

  • Clarence - 2012-03-05 14:14

    They are serving longer sentences because of more serious crimes commited dumbos. Stupid research, next they gona tell us 3/4 of people living in SA make 75% of the population.

      Hugo - 2012-03-05 17:52

      not really,smarty.If you knew how petty crime can easily fetch you quite a stretch at Zuma' B n B,you would not have made that comment :)

  • Sean - 2012-03-05 14:14

    The death penalty would drastically reduce the overcrowding problem

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 15:23

      Sean, murder and sexual offences make up less then 4% of the total crimes. So executing them is not going to make much of a difference to the prison population.

  • kasamkelo - 2012-03-05 14:35

    Stats are not facts, they are an estimation that doesn't look into the cause.

  • Dennis - 2012-03-05 14:35

    Does that mean that there are 2 400% less crimminals on our streets ? Sadly no !!!

  • Rory - 2012-03-05 14:41

    Well, a quick look for stats on the net and I found the SAPS official crime stats. Lets not debate on the accuracy and the surrounding circumstances of these stats, I simply offer food for thought. You should look at them. From 2003 to 2011 Sexual Offences have decreased by 0.2% from 66 079 reported cases to 66 196 reported cases. Murder has decreased 19.6% from 19 824 to 15 940. Attempted murder has decreased 48% from 30 076 to 15 493. These three I would assume would carry the longer sentences. So, here is my question to everybody who thinks our system is a failure - if crime stats are dropping, but the length of sentences are increasing, surely this is a victory? Surly this could be a sign that criminals are getting punished far more severely? The fact that only longer stay sentences are increasing and there is a decrease in the number of short stay prisoners should imply that there is a shift in the sentencing trend to be harsher not a dramatic increase in crime and a wayward system....Just food for thought, I don't take sides and don't think any government is perfect.

      ZION - 2012-03-05 14:54

      How much of the statistics are manipulated by the senior police officers as has been seen recently. and for how long has this racket been going on for. So given that additional information it is a sure indicator that the given statistics cannot be correct. Manipulation is statistically countrywide.

      butch.poulter - 2012-03-05 15:07

      On the other side of the coin its still 43 murders, 181 sexual offences and 42 attempted murders a day. Still a extreemly violent society we live in.

      Rory - 2012-03-05 15:27

      Absolutely Butch, way to many for any decent society. But we are dropping, albeit bloody slowly, down the ladder of the most violent country on Earth as our stats get better and better. Zion, we can only work with the stats that are given to us. We simply cannot prove whether they are manipulated or not as nothing has been proved yet, as far as I know. However think what a monumental effort it would take by cops to manipulate the stats in such a massive way that we see the decreases we see. Even with some manipulation at play the basic trend is clear to see - decrease.

  • ZION - 2012-03-05 14:57

    If anybody can come up with a correction for the statistics given then I can take it seriously. Remember cops, senior officers, were caught manipulating the statistics. surely that must be accommodated in the final statistics before I would even take it kop-toe

  • Kungfumouse - 2012-03-05 15:04

    People that loittered got locked up givng them less time to do crime

  • nspaynter - 2012-03-05 15:08

    I wonder how many inmates in prison at present are re-offenders. 10 years ago the rate stood at 79% (USA 23%) A year ago it was close to 90%. A second offence attracts a far higher sentence. (BTW I am an ex-prisoner who has not re-offended!)

      Hugo - 2012-03-05 17:55

      my guess would be the 90%

  • Bomb - 2012-03-05 15:30

    Prison should be a deterrent, but has become a "guest" house. A prisoner should be deprived of all the rights a normal law-abiding citizen is entitled to. A prisoner should not have any rights apart from a fair trial. He gave up his rights the day he committed a crime and deprived his victims of their rights. They should sit in solitary confinement in darkness for 23 hours a day, and only be allowed out for an hour which includes meals. Maybe the authorities should investigate "hard labour" camps for offenders, building roads, harbours etc where he can earn his meal with manual labour. That way these tax eating maggots can contribute to the economy.

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 15:48

      Bomb, and when you release them they will go straight back into crime. I would rather work for rehabilitation. Yeah, I know, we're only scratching the surface at the moment. We've got a long way to go. But I have seen some of the successes of rehabilitation. I would like to see incentive driven initiatives. If a prisoner responds well to rehabilitation he/she is rewarded. The target of the DCS should be to release prisoners who are less likely to re-offend. And I would also like to see all prisons becoming working prisons where every prisoner is put to work for his upkeep. Drakenstein (formerly Victor Verster) is a working prison. Agriculture, farming, carpentry, steel work and clothing manufacturing. The prisoner gets a small stipend, the rest of the profits go to their upkeep.

  • Bibi - 2012-03-05 15:50

    They are not sick enough and have no political connections - poor sods.

  • Nigel - 2012-03-05 16:19

    I wonder what effect the abolition of the death peblty in 1995 had on these numbers. Previously we would have hung the bastards. Now we incarcerate them. Still, given the ANC's decline into something like the old white NATS (They are afterall just black nats), I'm glad we don't have the death penalty. The Government cannot be trusted to afford true justice in SA.

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 16:43

      Nigel, murder makes up less then 1% of the total crimes. So executing them is not going to make much of a difference to the prison population.

  • Mac - 2012-03-05 16:27

    the stats are shocking. stop blaming the ANC for everything that is wrong and just do something about it. they did something about the apartheid and thats why they are in power now. complaining about them here won't change a thing. grow some balls and fight for what you believe

      nspaynter - 2012-03-05 18:00

      Mac, if there are problems in the country the ruling, governing party needs to take the responsibility. At the moment the governing party is the ANC. In the old days it was the Nats. The ANC cannot rest solely on it's achievements of the past. It's the present that matters. It's part of moving from a struggle organization to a governing one. And we need good government. If it can't govern properly it will ultimately be voted out. The choice is theirs.

  • John - 2012-03-05 18:38

    I wonder how much influence the "amnesty" given in the past has influenced these stats. Criminals prosecuted, amnesty, arrested, paroled, arrested......

  • brionyl.french - 2012-03-06 05:41

    This just shows how the death penatly would have done the trick, We could have saved the world from these sick freaks and then the ones that are considering becoming a sick murdering freak then would have been scared off by a the thought of a lethal injection or hanging or whatever, but now CRIME PAYS!!! FREE DSTV ON BIG TVS, FREE FOOD, BOARD, WARM BED, FREE ELECTRICTY, FREE WATER, FREE EDUCATION AND MEDICAL!!!! Its a free ride!!! IT BEATS WORKING, STRUGGLING, STARVING, SLEEPING ON THE STREETS IN WINTER OR IN A THUNDER STORM. THE ANC NEEDS to use there brains so that this problem can be resolved, DEATH PENATLY, EYE FOR AN EYE LIKE IN ARAB COUNTRIES AND USE THE PRISONERS TO SWEEP STREETS, CUT GRASS, CLEAN RAILWAYS, UPGRADE RAIL WAYS, its free labour!!!

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