Authors - Ruth Hopkins

This Is What Life In Prison Is Really Like For Women In South Africa

When women and crime end up in the same headline in South Africa, it usually concerns women who are victims of domestic violence and rape. But women also commit crimes and end up serving time in prison. WJP senior journalist Ruth Hopkins' first piece in her four part series on women in prison. She spoke to women incarcerated in Pollsmoor prison in Cape Town and Johannesburg Correctional Centre about how they ended up in prison and how they survive behind bars. 


Tortured behind bars

In March, Kgolofelu Khoza was allegedly chained in a crouching position to a door in an isolation unit – also known as the “bomb cells” – at Johannesburg Correctional Centre. He claims he was kept there for two days and a night.


Lifers, Riots and Parole

At the start of this month, prison guards at Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria injured inmates sentenced to life who were protesting against the delays in their parole processes. The Wits Justice Project (WJP) has seen pictures of four prisoners with head wounds and large bruises on their limbs.


Police time and money go to pot

If dagga is decriminalised, R3.5-billion could be invested annually in serious crimes.  It may take some of the pressure off the clogged-up court system, an overburdened police force, severely overcrowded prisons and see more successful prosecutions for murders such as that of Karabo Mokoena.


Op-Ed: The contrition clause of parole

While the parole system or parole boards cannot fix a wrongful conviction, the “contrition” requirement in the parole process currently functions as a quid pro quo for release. This is disproportionately punitive towards people who still maintain their innocence.