Better education for offenders


BETTER rehabilitation is needed for young offenders to improve literacy and make them employable, the correctional services commissioner said today (June 20).


About a quarter of inmates were either completely illiterate or semi-literate and only 15 000 had been able to access pre-adult basic education and training in correctional centres during the 2010/2011 financial year, Thomas Moyane said in an opinion piece.


“They have limited prospects of ever being absorbed by industries upon their release.” He said some inmates were sentenced to life imprisonment in their teenage years and considered for parole 20 years later.


Without attending school, they were as illiterate as they were when they were incarcerated.


The Usethubeni Youth Centre in the Durban Westville prison was the only full-time school that achieved good matric results year after year. Twelve other youth prisons however had no access to full-time schooling.


Negotiations with several training colleges, particularly in the Western Cape, were underway to enroll over 19 600 offenders for further education and training.


He said a partnership with the South African Safety and Security, Education and Training agency, which provided R1.6 million for training offenders, had produced 50 electricians, plumbers and welders.


“What we owe to the class of 1976, is to improve rehabilitation and development, particularly for young people, because the future is theirs and they must be groomed to assume leadership, management and general responsibility for building a democratic and prosperous South Africa, as envisaged in our Constitution,” Moyane said.

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