St Albans prison opens bakery

2018-09-19 06:01
The mixed-bread dough prepared by the inmates before baked in the oven. Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

The mixed-bread dough prepared by the inmates before baked in the oven. Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

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A BRAND new state-of-the-art bakery has officially been opened at St Albans Correctional Facility in Port Elizabeth, to establish self-sufficiency projects within the prison.

The Department of Correctional Services has started this initiative to ensure a contribution from the offenders towards the economy of the country.

“When the offenders are released, we hope that through the skills they acquire they can be able to find employment and thus break the cycle of crime,” said Nobuntu Gantana, regional coordinator at the Department of Correctional Services in the Eastern Cape.

The bakery supplies bread to 5 941 inmates, spread across seven centres, under the jurisdiction of the St Albans management area.

“Only bread will be baked in the bakery. The supply of bread will be to the offenders in the facilities that are within the Nelson Mandela Metro and Sarah Baartman District (Patensie). The bakery is not for profit, as such bread will not be sold to the public,” Gantana said.

The Department of Correctional Services has set funds aside for the rations of the inmates. The newly opened bakery forms part of the budget and funds will be made available for the ingredients.

“The total cost was R 2.8 million, inclusive of the renovations to the building as well as the equipment of the bakery.”

The inmates at St Albans, who will be working at the bakery, are expected to bake 2 319 loaves per day and were given specialised training and skills to make the bread.

“There are currently 16 offenders who are operating the bakery under the supervision of four correctional services officials.

“The offenders are compensated as per the policies of the department.”

The bakery is currently operating two high-tech ovens, mixers, dough separators and roll-out machines.

The facility has strict supervision in place by various officials.

The inmates at St Albans are said to be grateful for the opportunity to learn and to acquire skills, which will benefit others.

“It feels good to work in the bakery because we gain a lot of knowledge and skills here,” said one of the inmates, Sivuyile Benjamin.

“Our time in here seems to go by quickly and we want to do something good as well,” Benjamin added.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani and the Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla, attended the opening of the bakery on August 31.

“The department is planning to expand the supply of bread to the Kirkwood Correctional Centre. We also plan on ensuring that the offenders who are operating the bakery obtain accredited training at the end of their time in custody. There are plans to add more inmates on the programme,” Gantana said.

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