Lack of counselling leads to a cycle of crime

2009-11-05 14:56

EACH psychologist employed by the Department of Correctional

Services has to attend to over four thousand prisoners because of a severe lack

of psychologists.

The inability to offer sufficient psychological counselling to

prisoners exists despite the 2005 White Paper on Corrections in South Africa

outlining the need for rehabilitation to be improved in the country’s


Counselling is important because South African prisons have a

reported recidivism (relapsing into crime habitually) rate of about 80 percent.

The National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration

of Offenders (NICRO) regional manager Gerhard van Vuuren expressed concern that

the high recidivism rate is directly linked to the shortage of


Van Vuuren said 46 thousand awaiting-trial prisoners received no

rehabilitation services because they were mostly reserved for sentenced


South Africa’s Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons director Gideon

Morris said psychologists “form an integral part” of the prisoners’

rehabilitation programme.

Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative coordinator Lukas Muntingh

said psychological counselling was needed to help prisoners re-organize their

lives, self image and deal with “the fact that their family and friends are

outside while they’re inside”.

Muntingh said there were no support systems or guidance to help

prevent prisoners from once more embarking on a life of crime.

Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Hlengiwe Mkhize’s

spokesman David Hlabane said the department aimed to fill the posts through

offering better remuneration packages, a move which had already resulted in

increasing the number of psychologists from 22 in 2008/2009 to the current


Hlabane said although there were 112 psychological posts vacant, it

did not prevent the department from engaging in the rehabilitation of prisoners

as psychological services were just one of many rehabilitation initiatives.

West Cape News

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.