Youth ‘scared straight’ in prison

2015-06-09 06:01
A group of Lavender Hill teens identified as potential youth at risk visited Pollsmoor prison  as part of the “Scared Staright” initiative.

A group of Lavender Hill teens identified as potential youth at risk visited Pollsmoor prison as part of the “Scared Staright” initiative.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pupils from Lavender Hill Secondary School were the latest to participate in the “Scared straight” initiative.

About thirty Grade 8, 9 and 10 pupils attended the excursion to Pollsmoor prison led by the City of Cape Town’s metro police on Wednesday last week.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, says it is a partnership between the metro police and various other organisations, including the Western Cape education department and the department of correctional services.

“Our policing approach involves law enforcement, which is largely reactive and deals with existing criminal elements. However, in the last few years, we have also started focusing on more proactive crime-prevention projects aimed at helping youth at risk,” he said.

Smith says the metro police has started youth camps and does ongoing anti-drug and crime-prevention awareness programmes at schools.

The department has also implemented a “neighbourhood safety officer project” and it officially launched its youth academy earlier this year. “The Pollsmoor excursions form part of these social crime-prevention initiatives,” he says.

The “Scared straight” initiative is aimed at highlighting the realities of criminal and gang association by exposing pupils to a prison environment, but also allowing them the opportunity to interact with inmates who share their stories and life lessons.

“We have a massive challenge in many communities where young people idolise gangs and the perceived lifestyle. They are also recruited from a young age and drawn into a life of crime from which it is very difficult to escape,” he says.

Smith further says that the metro police are therefore taking a more hard-hitting approach by bringing pupils face to face with others who have walked dangerous paths. “The programme is not guaranteed to work for every single pupil whom we take through the gates at Pollsmoor, but if we make a difference in the lives of just a handful of pupils at a time, that is still worthwhile progress.”

Since the start of the project in August last year, 80 young people have been on the excursion to Pollsmoor prison

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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.