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www.corpun.com :  Features :  South Africa judicial page 9

JUDICIAL CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA

Section 10



CONTENTS

On this page:

10. Statistics

On other pages:

1. Introduction

2. Implements and terminology

3. Historical background and legislative timeline

4. Corporal punishment of "juveniles"

5. "Prison discipline" canings

6. What caning of adults involved

7. What caning of juveniles involved

8. Interesting cases (adult)

9. Interesting cases (juvenile)

11. Illegal punishments, kangaroo courts, native/customary courts

12. The deterrent effect of corporal punishment

13. The abolition of JCP


10: STATISTICS

This first set of official figures relates to whippings carried out in prison, whether for prison discipline reasons or as a court sentence. They do not include the juvenile canings not administered in prison. The level was fairly steady through the first half of the 20th century (but with the average number of strokes gently declining), began to rise after the Nationalist regime came to power in 1948, and then soared much higher when mandatory corporal punishment for numerous offences came into effect in 1952.

The figures were at their lowest in 1940 and at their highest in 1958. By the latter year, 7.1% of admissions to penal institutions were whipped. In 1940 the figure had been 1.3%.

Number of corporal punishments carried out:

1911: 3,399 punishments for a total of 34,048 strokes (average 10.0 strokes per whipping).

1916: 4,489 punishments for a total of 43,640 strokes (average 9.7 strokes per whipping). This accounted for 4.7% of admissions to penal institutions.

1917: 2,729

1921: 2,733 punishments for a total of 24,407 strokes (average 8.9 strokes per whipping).

1927: 2,458

1928: 2,497

1931: 2,981 punishments for a total of 19,751 strokes (average 6.6 strokes per whipping).

1932: 3,683 punishments for a total of 24,247 strokes (average 6.6 strokes per whipping).

1935: 3,014 whippings, 70 of which were for prison discipline reasons.

1937: 2,918 punishments for a total of 18,651 strokes (average 6.4 strokes per whipping).

1940: 1,864 whippings. This accounted for 1.3% of admissions to penal institutions. These included 11 white adults receiving 63 strokes between them, and 1 juvenile receiving 6 strokes.

1941: 1,617 punishments, totalling 10,164 strokes (average 6.3 strokes per whipping). Of these offenders, 14 were Europeans, receiving in total 78 strokes (average 5.6 strokes each).

1942: 2,056 punishments, totalling 12,481 strokes (average 6.1 strokes per whipping). Of these offenders, 10 were Europeans, receiving 60 strokes.

1943: 1,927 punishments, totalling 11,791 strokes (average 6.1). Of these offenders, 10 were Europeans, receiving 60 strokes.

1944: 2,126 punishments, totalling 13,671 strokes (average 6.4). Of these offenders, 17 were Europeans, receiving 105 strokes.

1945: 2,649 punishments, with a total of 15,767 strokes (average 6.0). Of these offenders, 32 were Europeans, receiving between them 175 strokes.

1947: 2,696 whippings totalling 16,971 strokes (average 6.3).

1951: 4,783 punishments, totalling 28,152 strokes (average 5.9 strokes per whipping).

1952: 8,724 punishments, totalling 50,077 strokes (average 5.7).

1953: 12,927 punishments, totalling 73,030 strokes (average 5.6).

1954: 13,879 whippings totalling 78,573 strokes (average 5.7).

1956-57:* 17,498 punishments, totalling 87,034 strokes (average 5.0).

1957-58:* 18,542 punishments, totalling 93,775 strokes (average 5.1 strokes per whipping). These included 436 whites over 21 who received 2,095 strokes, and 129 whites under 21 who received 644 strokes.

1960-61:* 17,389 punishments, totalling 80,949 strokes (average 4.7 strokes per whipping).

1963-64:* 16,889 punishments.

1964-5:* 15,756 punishments for a total of 64,905 strokes (average 4.1 strokes per whipping).

1965-66:* 8,888 punishments.

1968-69:* 5,273 punishments totalling 25,933 strokes (average 4.9).

1971-72:* 4,536

1974-75:* 2,910 whippings in prisons (2,088 aged over 21, 822 under 21). The average number of strokes was 5.2 for those aged over 21 and 5.0 for those under 21. 176 sentences were awarded by the Supreme Court, 2,510 by lower courts, and 224 by prison authorities. 54 of the offenders were white, 2,403 African, 451 coloured, and 2 Asian. The average number of strokes per whipping did not differ significantly between racial groups.

1975-76:* 2,251 punishments.


* 12 months to 30 June.

Source: Prisons Department annual reports and replies given in Parliament, with supplementary information from the Howard League for Penal Reform (Sir G. Benson, 1937) and analysis in Albie Sachs, Justice in South Africa, Chatto & Heinemann 1973, and Ellison Kahn, "Crime and Punishment 1910-1960", in Acta Juridica 1960, Cape Town, 1961.


LASHINGS WITH THE CAT

Figures for applications of the cat-o'-nine-tails in selected years, given in the Annual Reports of the Department of Prisons, are:

1928: 49

1937: 16

1938: 12

1939:  5

1940:  2

1943: 14

1944:  3

1945:  2

1946:  9

1947: 24

1948: 89 (all natives)

1949: 128 (123 natives, 5 coloureds)

1950: 64

1951:  9

1958:  4


"JUVENILE" WHIPPINGS

It was estimated that in 1970 some 34,000 young offenders received judicial corporal punishment. This was based on information provided by the Minister of Justice in reply to a written question in the House of Assembly. (Steyn, "The Punishment Scene in South Africa: Developments over the Past Decade and Prospects for Reform", in Crime, Criminology and Public Policy (Roger Hood (Ed.)), Heinemann, London, 1974.)

In 1982, 40,253 people were sentenced to JCP, according to then Justice Minister Koebie Coetsee in Parliament. This figure obviously cannot be just for whippings carried out in prison, and must include canings of boys in police stations. (Agence France Presse report quoted in The Times, London, 4 June 1983.)

It has been reported that, in 1992, 36,000 boys under 21 were judicially caned ("Whippings banned", Atlanta Journal & Constitution, 10 June 1995).


blob Next: Section 11: Illegal punishments, kangaroo courts, native/customary courts


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