The effect of sentencing on the size of the South African prison population
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That South African prisons are experiencing serious and growing overcrowding problem is well-known to anyone with an interest in the criminal justice sector. Particularly since 2000 the widening gap between available prison space and the total number of prisoners has been well publicised, particularly by Judge Fagan during his tenure as Inspecting Judge of Prisons. This paper examines the link between sentencing practice and the size of the prison population. In particular, it examines the role played by the minimum sentences legislation as a driver of the total prison population. In addition, it examines the nature of the impact of these changes, in order to gain an understanding of how larger trends affect the situation at individual prison level, and not merely at the more abstract level of averages and percentages.