Heads of Corrections, Prisons unite

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pretoria - Southern African Heads of Corrections and Prisons are committed to finding creative solutions to address challenges facing corrections and prisons in the region.

During a three-day Southern African Consultative Conference on Corrections held in Sandton, the heads of corrections lamented over the challenges facing corrections and prisons in the region including overcrowding and incidence of HIV and Aids.

One of the key objectives of the conference, attended by participants from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, was to strengthen partnerships of correctional and prisons services in the region, to support each other to transform these centres into rehabilitation driven institutions, with good governance and improved service delivery.

The conference also provided a platform for South Africa to interact with its counterparts from the region, to share insights and exchange best practices in tackling some of the common challenges.

During the conference, academics and experts shared best practices with participants on the need to provide meals to prisoners as required by international standards, regional cooperation on rehabilitation, alternative to imprisonment/incarceration, security and risk profiling management of offenders. 

"The heads signed the Sandton Declaration to form a networking forum to advance the transformation and harmonisation of corrections and prisons and the advancement of the cause of corrections and prisons in pursuit of broader development and public safety agenda in the region," said the Department of Correctional Services. 

They have also declared to engage in the African Services Association on the need to ensure a united voice of heads of corrections and Prisons in Southern Africa, it said. 

The heads expressed the view that adoption of these measures could make a meaningful contribution to reducing crime levels and promotion of public safety in the Southern African Region. 

South Africa was elected to chair the forum with Mozambique and Lesotho nominated to support the process of properly establishing the forum. 

Explaining the declaration, National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Thomas Moyane said: 
"We must connect beyond the statutory multilateral and bilateral structures like the Southern African Development Community and the African Correctional Services Association, because even these structures can and still work better only if our connections are better than the obligations we have to these structures."