CSPRI seminar raises questions about race, gender and socio-economic status in law enforcement

Lukas Muntingh presented an investigation into whether subsets of the South African population reflect different law enforcement outcomes, and whether there is any evidence that this constitutes unfair discrimination in terms of the South African Constitution.

In the presentation of his paper, Dr Muntingh drew attention to the fact that the majority of arrests in South Africa are for non-priority crimes. He estimates that 1 in every 8 urban adult males is arrested every year, while in excess of 20 million "person searches" are carried out by police each year.

Dr Muntingh further highlighted  widely varying ratios of pre-trial detention and imprisonment by race and gender.The ratios suggest that Coloured women are most likely of all race-gender groups to be held in pre-trial detention without that detention resulting in a term imprisonment, while white women are least likely to be so held.

Dr Muntingh concluded by calling for further research which would assist in ensuring that unjust patterns of past law enforcement are not repeated.



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