New plan to rehabilitate offenders

05 August 2011 - 02:23 By Chandré Prince
Sun city prison warders on operation vula raiding the cells in search of any form of weapons, drugs, cell phones and electrical items that are not allowed in prison . Pic: Tebogo Letsie. 10/12/2008. © The Times. Jam-packed: Aim is to cut overcrowding. Financial Mail Budget supplement 2010, page 32.
Sun city prison warders on operation vula raiding the cells in search of any form of weapons, drugs, cell phones and electrical items that are not allowed in prison . Pic: Tebogo Letsie. 10/12/2008. © The Times. Jam-packed: Aim is to cut overcrowding. Financial Mail Budget supplement 2010, page 32.
Image: Tebogo Letsie

The Department of Correctional Services is to introduce a new set of measures and programmes to rehabilitate prisoners and assist them to reintegrate into society.

Inmates sentenced to less than two years could soon serve time in pre-release centres.

The department has already conducted two feasibility studies to address, among other things, overcrowding and the vulnerability of petty offenders .

Concerned about the number of women offenders serving sentences with their babies, Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the department would soon establish specialised units conducive to the proper upbringing of children.

She said children should never be brought up in prison.

Correctional services director Sonwabo Mbananga said the department would also in December this year launch a pilot project that would allow it to use electronic tags to monitor prisoners on parole.

It also envisages introducing legislation that would see sentenced pregnant women being electronically tagged so they could give birth first before being sent to prison.

"[This will] encourage the judiciary to divert more and more prisoners to correctional supervision," said Mbananga.

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