'n Pleidooi vir die kriminalisering van stigma teen vrygelate gevangenes in Suid-Afrika
Koers 85(1) 2020 Cover Art
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Keywords

post-release stigma
unexamined prejudice
multi-level complexity of crime
social hypocrisy
proposed post-Marxist inspired interventions
post-vrylatingstigma
ongeregverdigde vooroordeel
multivlak- kompleksiteit van misdaad
maatskaplike huigelary
voorgestelde post-Marxisties-geïnspireerde ingrype

Abstract

A plea for the criminalization of stigma against ex-offenders in South Africa
Against the backdrop of Agrizzi’s testimony of large-scale corruption in the Department of Correctional Services (the Bosasa scandal) and the new Minister’s initiative in assisting ex-offenders with job opportunities and resettlement, the question is asked whether or not the paralysing impact of post-release stigma is justified. From a comparative perspective, my point of departure is that imprisonment as South Africa’s dominant sentencing regime has not impacted our unsustainable rates of recidivism and may in fact have made the situation worse. A post-Marxist theoretical perspective questions and problematises the stigma which haunts ex-offenders in stigmatising shaming cultures (such as in South Africa and the US). After examining and rejecting as irrational, the justifications for stigma – since these either apply to the stereotype or are backed by unexamined prejudice – the largely discredited idea of individual responsibility is taken to task. The multi-level complexity of crime is considered, and criminogenic structural oppressions (racism, poverty, sexism, stigma against ex-offenders, growing inequality) are highlighted. It is submitted that stigma qualifies both as hate speech and as being unconstitutional in South Africa. A number of interventions are proposed (such as the criminalisation of stigma against ex-offenders) which are aimed at the promotion of an integrative shaming culture and in a deeply reflective conclusion, the hypocrisy in the wider community is lamented.


OPSOMMING
Teen die agtergrond van Agrizzi se getuienis van grootskaalse korrupsie in die Departement van Korrektiewe Dienste (die Bosasa-skandaal) en die nuwe Minister se oogmerk om vrygelate gevangenes behulpsaam te wees met werksverskaffing en hervestiging, word die vraag gevra of die verlammende invloed van post-vrylatingstigma geregverdig is. Vanuit ʼn volksvergelykende perspektief is die vertrekpunt dat gevangenisstraf as Suid-Afrika se oorheersende strafparadigma nie ons onhoudbare hoë oortredingsyfers enigsins verlaag het nie en dit inderdaad aangeblaas het. ʼn Post-Marxistiese teoretiese raamwerk bevraagteken en geproblematiseer die stigma waaronder vrygelate oortreders in harde stigmatiserend-beskamingskulture (Suid-Afrika, die VSA) gebuk gaan. Nadat die regverdigings vir stigma oorweeg en as onsinnig verwerp is – dit slaan op die stereotipe óf ongeregverdigde vooroordeel – word die grootliks gediskrediteerde gedagte aan indiwiduele aanspreeklikheid aan die orde gestel. Die multivlak-kompleksiteit van misdaad as ʼn maatskaplike verskynsel word ondersoek en strukturele verdrukkings (rassisme, chauvinisme, armoede, stigma teen vrygelate voormalige oortreders, verdiepende ongelykheid) wat as teelaarde vir misdaad dien, word ook belig. Ek doen aan die hand dat sodanige stigma op beide haatspraak en ongrondwetlikheid in Suid-Afrika neerkom. Ten slotte word ingrype (byvoorbeeld kriminalisering van stigma) ter bevordering van ʼn integrerend-beskamende kultuur aan die hand gedoen en in ʼn bepeinsende slotsom word die maatskaplike huigelary rondom hierdie vraagstuk bekla.

 

https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.85.1.2470

https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.85.1.2470
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