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Officials are not making the place more conducive for inmates - Prisoner

20 October 2020 12:09 PM
Tags:
prisoner rehabilitation
rehabilitation centres

Prisoners say there are no rehabilitation programmes in prison due to overcrowding and law officials not caring.

Clement Mayathela had a conversation on rehabilitation in prisons and the reintegration back into society once one gets out of prison.

According to Saferspaces, South Africa has 243 correctional centres and the conditions are particularly dire where inmates and remand detainees experience extreme overcrowding and inhumane living conditions.

Kay who is serving 18 years in prison for armed robbery argued that there are no rehabilitation programmes in prison and that prisoners have no facilities as prisons are overcrowded.

What I would say is we have fewer facilities and there is nothing to do most of the time, there is lots of creativity and talent its just officials are not facilitating inmates, that is when you find people are not developing skills and when they get out they still do the same crime because they wasted time in prison.

Kay, Inmate

There are programmes we as inmates have developed together.

Kay, Inmate

Kay says what drove him to commit armed robbery was unemployment and having a responsibility to feed his family.

Sifiso who had been out of prison three months ago also for armed robbery spoke of his experience in prison and how life has been outside of prison. He supported Kay's statement that rehabilitation programmes in prison and that law officials were not making the place conducive.

What I can say is rehabilitation when you are in prison first and for most is a choice.

Sifiso, Ex-convict

Officials are not making the place to be more conducive for inmates to actually find space to rehabilitate themselves and the programmes they offer have no depth in terms of letting a person grow mentally or when you get out of prison you have something to offer when looking for work.

Sifiso, Ex-convict

Specialised kinesiologist Gabby Fels joined the conversation saying that the is universal stress amongst prisoners and that programmes offered in prisons are superficial and do not teach inmates anything.

I think the support system prisoners need in prisons is to have a profound life skill course and a reason to get up in the morning, they need to think they need to have a sense of achievement, they need to get over the boredom.

Gabby Fels, Specialised Kinesiologist

RELATED: Ramaphosa set to announce release of thousands of prisoners on Freedom Day

Fels says in her 30 years of experience working with inmates she has learned from inmates is that they are not good at communicating, they have anger problems, self-esteem problems and some may find prison claustrophobic not allow them to express themselves which creates depression.

She added that rehabilitation started with the inmate wanting to change their lives and interest in creating a future outside prison.

There are no short cuts you have to work on yourself in order to be able to clear your misperceptions, beliefs, and behaviour. You must make peace with your past and learn from that experience and find out who you are at a core level.

Gabby Fels, Specialised Kinesiologist

Listen to the full interview below...


20 October 2020 12:09 PM
Tags:
prisoner rehabilitation
rehabilitation centres

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