Profile of Female Offenders

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part of Corrections in South Africa

As of 2011 the Department of Correctional Services reported incarceration levels of female offenders, relating to the types of crimes committed, as 44.80% incarcerated for economic crimes, followed by 35.71% for aggressive crimes, 11.74% for narcotic crimes, 6.84% for other crimes not specified and 0.90% for sexual crimes[1] This profile of South African female offenders has remained relatively consistent since 2005, when a study, supported by the Gender Program of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, or CSVR, surveyed 569 women in three correctional centres in Gauteng, South Africa. Amongst these incarcerated women, murder was the most common crime, having been committed by 38% of the participants, with imprisonment for drug-related crimes the least common, at only 8%[2] The age of the female offenders interviewed ranged from 16 to 67 years, with an average median age of 33 years old [3] These CVSR study findings are similar to those of NICRO, who stated that female offenders over the age of 25 years constituted 82.16% of all female offenders[4] With regards to race, the majority comprises of black female offenders at 75.38%, followed by Coloured women at 12.27% , White women at 8.38% and Asian women at 3.24%[5]