Sunday, January 01, 2006

SA is Africa's leading jailer

South Africa, an economic and political leader in Africa, is also the continent's number one jailer. If prisons are a reflection of society, what conclusions are to be drawn from this reality, particularly in a nation rightfully proud of its nascent democracy?

Few dispute that South Africa's social and economic disparities help to fuel crime. Inspecting Judge Hannes Fagan writes in the 2003/04 annual report of the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons that of crimes committed, 30% were economic crimes and 50% aggressive crimes "largely engendered by poverty and joblessness and the frustrations that they cause".

The immediate cost to the state of keeping so many people in jail is approximately R25-million a day. Read More

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