Prison is to help offenders change their behaviour

Lebogang Moate's letter, "Don't turn jails into hotels for inmates", refers. For too long prisons have been regarded as breeding grounds for criminals, places of punitive authoritarianism and the backwaters of everything despised by society.

Lebogang Moate's letter, "Don't turn jails into hotels for inmates", refers. For too long prisons have been regarded as breeding grounds for criminals, places of punitive authoritarianism and the backwaters of everything despised by society.

Moate expects offenders to be treated harshly, which is against the human rights culture enshrined in our Constitution. Staff who manage offenders must ensure that inmates are treated with decency and fairness, and provide offenders with opportunities to use their incarceration positively. They must assist them to be reintegrated into their communities on their release. The purpose of correctional services is not to punish, but to protect the public, promote social responsibility and to enhance human development in order to prevent offenders repeating their criminal behaviour.

It is rehabilitation and not punishment that breaks the cycle of crime. The aim of the Department of Correctional Services is to contribute to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by enforcing court-imposed sentences, detaining inmates in safe custody while maintaining their human dignity.

The department offers several courses to offenders to enable them to take their rightful place in society. To lock the grill and throw the key away is not the answer.

Tshifhiwa Magadani, spokesmanCorrectional Services, Pretoria

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