The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) learned with concern the announcement made yesterday by the Acting Minister of Justice Faith Muthambi that the process of finalising a position document for the redrafting of the country’s parole system was underway.
Our concerns stem from the fact that redrafting the parole system in isolation of the broader outstanding challenges faced by the entire correctional services is likely to turn out being a futile, costly exercise that doe no only minimise reoffending, but also deviate from rehabilitation.
We are of the view that the redrafting should take into consideration the reoffending crisis. Our country currently stands at a rate of 85% reoffending, demonstrating that the very objective of rehabilitation by the department has not been effective.
This is partly due to the fact that most inmates continue remaining idle in these correctional facilities, with limited skilling programs that would ensure when they are paroled or released; they have skills to utilise in becoming self-sustainable. For us, this remains one of the important underlying issues in resolving the current challenges.
Overcrowding and understaffing of correctional services is still rife and should be urgently addressed as a precondition for ensuring a smooth and meaningful implementation of this parole system.
Issued by POPCRU on 12/04/2017