Foreigners make up only 4% of prison population

THE belief that foreign nationals are behind South Africa’s crime woes appears to be a myth.

This is according to a report on the state of prisons, released by the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro) yesterday.

The report reveals the anecdotal belief that many criminals in South Africa are foreigners does not appear to be true, with foreigners making up just 4% of the 112 467 sentenced prisoner population.

The research, relying on the latest available information from the Department of Correctional Services, shows only 2%, or 2 663, of sentenced prisoners are woman, compared to 109 804 men.

Men are mostly likely to be jailed for aggressive crimes, followed by economic crimes, while women are most likely to be locked up for economic crimes, followed by aggressive crimes. Fifteen women were jailed for sexual offences, compared to more than 18 000 men.

The prisoner population is 79% black, 18% coloured, 2% white and 1% Asian. There is a disproportionately high number of coloured offenders and a low number of white offenders compared to South Africa’s demographics, with each of these groups making up 9% of the national population.

- Leonie Wagner