Westville prison

2013-11-08 00:00

THE opinion piece on Correctional Services published in The Witness on November 5 misses the point on the actual challenges confronting the Department of Correctional Services in general, and Westville specifically.

What is happening in Medium B can be summed up as a lack of understanding and appreciation of the role and responsibility of the department by a section of our communities, a few corrupt members of Correctional Services in that centre and rogue elements among inmates. The department, as part of the criminal justice system of this country, exists to ensure the safety of our citizens by, among others, contributing to the rehabilitation of offenders and their humane incarceration. A number of programmes are offered by the department, other partnering departments and NGOs to deal with the offending behaviour of inmates, enrol them for studies, skills development and social reintegration. We cannot become distracted from the fundamental responsibility of ensuring the safety of our people in South Africa as long as illegal acts by any of the role players hinder the rehabilitation process. As a region, and as part of this national department and the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, we commit to do everything humanely possible to flush out the rogue elements who are hiding in our uniform, disguised as rehabilitators. We will work tirelessly with all well-meaning partners in line with our belief that correction is a collective societal responsibility.

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