Monday, May 7, 2007

Shanta Singh

Shanta Singh
Shanta Singh is a lecturer in Criminology at UKZN. Research is her passion. She is currently conducting research on HIV/AIDS and overcrowding within South African prisons, the Indian Diaspora in the 21st Century, drug use among youth and language and assessment in higher education.

In her chapter, Challenging Stereotypes of Street Children, Shanta addresses street children in Durban as active agents. Even though they may be engaged in criminal behaviour and are viewed in problematic terms, she argues that they are highly sociable, well organised and rational. And they should be regarded as such.

In another chapter, Overcrowding in a Durban prison, Shanta investigates the impact of severe overcrowding on prisoners in the city's largest maximum security facility. As she points out, prison overcrowding reflects the high rates of crime in a society where so many people experience poverty and where inequalities are so vast. The majority of prisoners hail from poor backgrounds and are particularly susceptible to spreading infectious diseases in such conditions. Her paper draws on deeply unsettling interviews with inmates: she argues that prisoners’ Constitutional rights are regularly violated. Perhaps because prisons are ‘behind closed doors’—and because many view prisons as institutions for retribution in which prisoners should have no rights—the issue of overcrowding has not been taken seriously. But Shanta says that such overcrowding can be a ‘death sentence’.

Singh, Shanta. 'Challenging Stereotypes of Street Children', in Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan (Eds.), Undressing Durban (Durban: Madiba Press, 2007), pp. 190-194.

Singh, Shanta. 'Overcrowding in a Durban prison', in Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan (Eds.), Undressing Durban (Durban: Madiba Press, 2007), pp. 292-296.