Readers of this blog will be familiar with our focus – to identify the ways in which black South Africans have continued to suffer from unequal treatment since the fall of apartheid 22 years ago.
We have, however, finally identified where black South Africans are well represented, and indeed over-perform: in the prison population.
Figures put together by the Institute for Race Relations (IRR) demonstrate that if you are black or coloured, you are nearly 9 times more likely to be incarcerated than if you are white.
Specifically, the research showed that the incarceration rate for the black and coloured community is 497 out of every 100,000 in the population, whereas as the figure for white counterparts was 60 out of every 100,000. This, in addition to South Africa having the 11th highest prison population in the world – 160,000 in total.
The IRR in their report were keen to stress that these findings are not evidence that blacks and coloureds are more criminally inclined. “Rather, it seeks to identify peculiar environmental influences that might drive members of some communities towards criminal activity”, the organisation added.
Voetsek has written extensively of these “peculiar environmental influences”. Rising poverty levels, inequality of outcome in education, and growing inequality, amongst others. The list is endless, and the time for action is now!