This is the reason why most prisons in the country are overcrowded.
According to Leeuwkop’s acting regional communications officer Mocheta Monama, they aim to contribute to a just, peaceful and safer country through effective and humane imprisonment of inmates and the rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders.
“The criminal justice system must be seen to be efficient and must have a positive impact on the lives of our people –for those in South Africa to be and feel safe. The Victims of Crime Survey 2017/18, released earlier this month highlighted that an estimated 50 percent of households were satisfied with the way correctional services rehabilitates criminals.”
When asked on the prison performance rate 2017/2018 financial year Monama said:” the department has turned the tide and in terms of target achieved, we recorded the highest ever performance standing at 81 percent compared to the previous 2016/17 financial year”.
He stated that the gospel of rehabilitation is the epicentre of corrections in this country. “It is no surprise that we managed to place 86 518 [82 per cent] sentenced inmates in various correctional programmes in the 2017/18 financial year, hence, the changes and efficacies that we are witnessing in the correctional system presently were a result of such foundations.
“We are rolling out a number of skills development programmes, aimed at addressing the socio-historic, and economic, challenges which are the root cause of crime in this country. Agriculture has been identified as one of the niche markets in South Africa, and we have decided to intensify training in this area. Hence, we are now equipping many inmates with agricultural skills and training in the cultivation of vegetables, meat, chicken, fruit and milk production.”
He added that it was exciting to note an increasing number of inmates opting for agriculture as a career of choice, and currently 3 307 offenders were participating daily in agricultural activities.
Monama explained that their goals were to ensure that:
- Remand detention processes are effectively managed
- All sentenced offenders are incarcerated in safe, secure and humane facilities and are provided with health-care needs, and effective rehabilitation programmes and
- Offenders, parolees and probationers are successfully reintegrated back into their society as law-abiding citizens.
He mentioned that their centres were extremely overcrowded and they were under-staffed. “We are currently overcrowded by 38 per cent to be precise, our approved bed space is 118 723, yet the inmate population is 164 129. Correctional facilities in the metropolitan cities are the worse affected, especially remand detention centres. We ended the 2017/18 financial year with 46 260 awaiting-trial persons. Adding salt to the wound, the ageing infrastructure in some of our centres is dilapidating.”
Although there is an overcrowding in their centres, Monama stated that their partnership and coordination within the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster had greatly improved and continued to have a positive impact on the work of correctional services.
Different mechanism and strategies to reduce overcrowding are indeed making a difference. However, the knock-on effect makes these measures seem insignificant, as crime remains stubbornly high in the country”
He explained that they were also accelerating their infrastructure projects which will increase additional bed space. “We created a total of 407 additional bed spaces through the upgrading of facilities, and we expect the numbers to increase after the completion of numerous projects that the department is currently busy with. These centres are located in Tzaneen, Estcourt, Standerton and C-Max Kgosi Mampuru II.”