Boksburg Correctional Service: Developing skills of inmates

2016-04-27 10:32
Inmates sewing prison clothes at Boksburg Correctional Service. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

Inmates sewing prison clothes at Boksburg Correctional Service. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

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Boksburg – Once you pass through the high walls of the Boksburg Correctional Service Centre and enter the workshop area, there's a sense of professionalism in the air.

A production facility consisting of a steel and woodwork workshop is housed in the prison, as is as an upholstery facility, a textile operation and a bakery.

There's a smell of cut wood and freshly baked bread. It is easy to forget that this is home to convicted criminals.

The Boksburg Correctional Service Centre plays a big part in rehabilitating prisoners while teaching inmates skills that might help them find employment once they're released.

While inmates learn to bake or build, their productivity also enables the Correctional Centre to save more than R2 million per year on bread.

Baking loaves

Boksburg Bakery provides the Correctional Centre with dough. Inmates bake approximately 1 720 loaves of bread per day adding up to over 620 000 loaves per year.

The production workshop can accommodate up to 650 prisoners per day and Seta accredited training is also offered to them.

The Correctional Centre currently has 3 415 inmates of whom 2 473 are sentenced offenders.

But is the training actually helpful?

According to inmate Ebrahim Booysen, who is set for release in October 2017, the skills development offered to inmates is something not to be taken for granted.

New beginning

"I'm gaining a lot. When I first came to the facility I thought it was the end of me, that there is no... real life, but then I realised that it’s just the beginning of new life."

According to the national commissioner of the department of correctional services, Zach Modise, the facility has produced 25 qualified artisans so far.

"For this achievement, we take our hats off to our fellow officials who are artisans and are responsible for offender training as well as the department of labour which has also significantly contributed to these achievements," he said.

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