Community joins hands with officials and celebrate correctional week

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By Dimakatso Modipa

Department of Correctional Services Regional Commissioner of Gauteng Advocate Moeketsi Mashibini addressing the community during the Correction week in Ikageng hall, Mamelodi east, Tshwane photo by Dimakatso Modipa

The event was attended by officials from the department of Correctional Services, SAPS, CPF, Vhathu Phanda community forum, Nellmapius ward 15 Task team, Chief Mahlangu, Chief Lekhuleni, paroles and community members across Mamelodi, Nellmapius and Eersterust.

Department of Correctional Services celebrate a correctional week under the theme ’societal is a responsibility’. The event was held at Ikageng community hall in Mamelodi east, Tshwane last week Friday.

Community members were given an opportunity to ask questions and to cough out their frustration and problems they are experiencing with the department.  

Department of Correctional Services Regional Commissioner of Gauteng Advocate Moeketsi Mashibini told the Tshwane Talks that we are here to celebrate correction week that started on the 23 to 27 September and it was indicated that every year we celebrate correctional week.

This is one of those weeks where we will be showing casing the programs that we have in the department.

We want to urge the community to play a role in assisting us in rehabilitating offenders cause we believe that rehabilitation is not only responsibility of us alone it also involves the community.

We want community to be part of this so they can assist us in making sure that these offenders when they are released they are welcome back as members of society because as a department we behave done so much we invested lots of programs in their rehabilitation and it is always unfair when they are release from prison the society just stigmatize them and said horrible things like this are offenders and they don’t deserve to be among them and we really think this is unfair to us and also it is unfair to them and they really need to be given another chance and they might have made mistake and we can’t always blame them for ever and we must accepts that they done mistake but there was an intervention.

“The correctional services has put in their lives so let’s allow that intervention to unfolds because we are sure that we have somebody that he is a better person than he was before he was admitted and we asked community to welcome them back,” Mashibini said. 

He said we are working hands in hands with the community and we have many programs that they are involve in always.

We got reconstruction program, cross road program and the is another one happening outside especially on his admission call it reconstruction program immediately when he is admitted we engage organization like NICRO to start engaging the family so we can maintain the contact between the family and offenders.

NICRO is the role player here as the representative of the community but it does not only end there and it continue also because even before they are place outside when they are due to be release we again contact NICRO to go out there and establish the where about of the family and that is the program called prerelease program.

Prerelease program it involves organization like NICRO also tertiary institutions because some of them u found they are students and are studying so we can’t just ignore them that they are release we engage with tertiary institution to continue with them while outside.

chief Mahlangu and community members during the celebration of Correctional week in Ikageng hall Mamelodi east, Tshwane photo by Dimakatso Modipa

Chief Mahlangu and community members during the celebration of Correctional week in Ikageng hall Mamelodi east, Tshwane photo by Dimakatso Modipa

“We are so happy as department to see community members getting involve in these kinds of the program and want to see change in their community and accepting the offenders and working hand in hand with them,” he said.

Mashibini further said we are involve with the program call Nenisa they are training the parolees during their social intervention when they are already outside.

They train them in different skills to ensure they are rehabilitated their adjustment to the society.  We have half way house is when an offender is release is going to stay in that particular house and training is still going to continue there and will be allow to go out there do certain things in the community until he gets adjusted and once he is done with his date where he is supposed to be release we know he has already adjusted then he can be release fully back to the community and it is not a permanent but we are preparing him and once they are sure that he is ready then they release him.

“We are pleading with community to please assist us as we are faced with crisis of offenders continue to reoffend after reoffending and for us to break that chain it need their involvements and if they are not involve in this thing we will continue having this reoffending,” Mashibini said. 

He concluded that most of the offenders are skills and are sitting with qualification and we have lawyers and when he is released and when he apply for a job and they see a previous conviction and they don’t want to take them.

“We are saying community open your arms and take this people back to you so they can then be able to change because change is a process and for them to really change it will need them being accepted back in the community and if they are not accepted back in the community they will relapse,” he pleaded with community.

Godfrey Sobopa said he is very happy to be part of the program and he has learn a lot about parolees and other things and when he get home he will tell his neighbor and family about it.

“I learn a lot today and as from today I will stop stigmatize the parolees and I will try to treat them like I treat everyone else in the community and I will go around spreading the word not to stigmatize them,” Lehlogonolo Maja said.     

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