Correctional Services minister on trip to visit overseas jails
CORRECTIONAL Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele is visiting prisons in Cuba, Brazil and the United States to develop best practice models, his office said yesterday.
Ndebele, accompanied by the national commissioner of his department, Tom Moyane, were in Havana, Cuba, on Monday and yesterday to study and observe prison facilities, spokesman Logan Maistry said in a statement.
"Without losing its rigour and discipline, the Cuban authorities have acknowledged that the Cuban penal system no longer relies on the simple 'behind bars' mentality, but they have exploited the advantages of offering dozens of courses at different educational levels," he said.
More than 95% of Cuban prisoners would have learnt at least one skill by the time they are released, and 51% earn an educational qualification. During their jail terms, inmates also rebuild state buildings such as schools and hospitals.
Last week, Ndebele met director general Augusto Eduardo de Souza Rossini of the Brazilian penitentiary department where that country's programmes on reducing prison time through labour and reading were discussed.
"In Brazil, prisons are offering an interesting option to select prisoners: [they] read and write essays on works of literature, philosophy and science to reduce sentences by four days for every book completed," Maistry said.
In one year prisoners can cut down a maximum of 48 days off their prison sentences.
After Cuba, Ndebele and Moyane fly to New York.