In South Africa, crime statistics for domestic violence, rape and femicide are through the roof. The crime rate for women as perpetrators, on the other hand, is very low. Only approximately 4000 women, a mere 2.6 % of the total prison population, are behind bars.
Authors - Ruth Hopkins
Ruth Hopkins's second 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. This is one of their stories.
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.
In 1992 two men were jailed for 19 years for a violent crime they did not commit. This year they confronted the security policeman who had them arrested
Victims of domestic and intimate partner violence such as Reeva Steenkamp and Karabo Mokoena grab headlines and trigger protests, but the women who stay alive by killing their abusive partners in self-defence are forgotten and misunderstood.
I broke the story on a private prison in South Africa where guards inflicted horrendous abuse. But to really understand what happened, I needed to talk to the torturers themselves.
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.
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.