Jail costs more than education

#changethestory: Jail costs more than education

“We cannot accommodate more prisoners. To house a prisoner in South Africa costs the state on average R390 a day,” writes Lorenzo Davids. Pictures: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)
by Lorenzo Davids, 15 JULY 2019, 07:33AM, OPINION

According to available data, South Africa had a prison population of 164129 as at March last year. With a capacity for 118000, the prison system is completely overpopulated.Stated in simple language, we cannot accommodate more prisoners. To house a prisoner in South Africa costs the state on average R390 a day. That means the fiscus spends the costly sum of R11700 a month on every prisoner in South Africa.

Let’s take a moment and contrast the cost of incarceration against the cost of education in a community like Lavender Hill on the Cape Flats.

Lavender Hill is notorious for its gang violence. The 2017-2018 crime statistics in the Steenberg policing district, under which Lavender Hill falls, show that there were 85 murders in the area in a community with a population of approximately 32000 residents.

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