n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Xenophobia and crime : foreign nationals awaiting trial in a South African prison

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The recent spate of crimes, allegedly committed by foreign nationals in South Africa, has prompted some South Africans to blame crime in general on foreign migrants. Drawing on annual statistical analysis of inmates within South African prisons conducted by the Department of Correctional Services, this research reflects on the increase of foreign nationals in South African Prisons since 2005. Furthermore, media reports, namely newspapers, television and radio, have alluded to the increase in the levels of xenophobia among many South Africans. In this research, interviews were conducted with prison officials and awaiting-trial foreign national prisoners at Medium A, Westville Prison, Durban, South Africa. Against the background of overcrowded prison conditions, the violence that emerges from South African society and the dearth of proper statistics, the question solicited is: Are these claims of crimes committed by foreigners in South Africa true or mere speculation? The findings of this research indicate that some foreign nationals do commit crime in contrast to the myth that most foreign nationals are offenders. The experiences of awaiting-trial foreign national detainees are documented in order to add their voices to the debate on crime, migration and xenophobia in South Africa.


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