Rehabilitating offenders to be model citizens

Correctional centres are overflowing with offenders and awaiting trialists. It is a huge challenge to deal with overcrowding and rehabilitation, especially with crime increasing. We believe the onus also lies with communities where the offenders come from.

In 2005, 23 offenders at the Usethubeni Youth School at Durban-Westville Correctional Centre got a 100 percent pass, with Obed Kwazi Ndlazi getting five As. In 2006, 27 people from that centre got a 96percent pass, with Mbuso Zulu getting seven As. With the help of a bursary he is studying for a Bachelor of Accounting degree.

Last year, 23 people got a 100percent pass from the same centre. Zakhele Khuzwayo got five As. The centre is finalising funds for his accounting services degree.

The white paper on corrections states that central to the success of the overall rehabilitation programme, is correcting offending behaviour. Formal education and skills development programmes are supported by informal training to rebuild family relations, restore human relations and deal with anger, sex offences and substance abuse.

The department will continue to carry the banner of correction at the coalface of service delivery, which will manifest in qualitative improvement where it matters most. Indeed, rehabilitation should be at the doorstep of every community.

Vusi Shabalala, Department of Correctional Services, Pretoria