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At the end of the introduction, we provide the reader with a selection of maps that depict pertinent qualitative facts about prisons in Africa. These maps, drawn up from the scant statistical data available across the continent, give a further hint at the diversity of prison life across Africa and a comparison to the global situation. They, thus, in their own way, help to decentre the African prison. One of the maps (Figure 0.4), for example, shows that the incarceration of women is, relatively speaking, surprisingly high in the Central African Republic and in South Sudan. This raises the question of how conflicts and civil wars affect women in terms of incarceration. But Eastern Africa in general also features strongly when it comes to the number of women in prison. If one compares the map depicting levels of occupancy of prisons (Figure 0.2) with the map of overall incarceration rates (Figure 0.1) it shows that they actually do not correlate: low to middle occupancy goes with high incarcerations, and low incarceration rates go with high occupancy. This directly speaks to the professionalisation of prisons as a form of generalised governance. When we look at the map of South Africa (Figure 0.5), this is further confirmed, as it shows the great number of prisons distributed widely across the country as if they were part and parcel of the overall state structure. The map of incarceration rates (Figure 0.6) also shows that South Africa’s incarceration rate indeed compares to some of the most incarcerating countries in the world, like the United States and Russia. Yet, South Africa is not alone in this on the African continent. It equals Algeria in this trend of hyperincarceration, a similarity that invites further comparative research.


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Prison population rate in the African countries

Figure 0.1 Prison population rate in the African countries.

Distribution of prisons in South Africa

Figure 0.5 Distribution of prisons in South Africa.

Prison population rate

Figure 0.6 Prison population rate.

Location of Senegalese penal camps (1930s)

Figure 0.7 Location of Senegalese penal camps (1930s).

Part I

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