Surveying the prisons landscape - what the numbers tell us
In a survey of quantitative data, Lukas Muntingh illustrates that Southern Africa has relatively high imprisonment rates. Further, the South African figures are skewed, showing that almost half of the prison population range from 18 to and 25 years of age.
Proportionately more 'coloured' young men are imprisoned than any other segment of the population. The figures also indicate an alarming increase in natural deaths in prison, probably due to HIV/AIDS. Sentence lengths have risen markedly since 1995, with more than a tenfold increase in prisoners serving life sentences. All of the above pose major challenges in the context of prison overcrowding, as warders are less able to pay attention to rehabilitation.