Parolees, probationers to help at hospital

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pretoria - Correctional Services Department and the Helen Joseph Hospital today signed a memorandum of understanding that will see parolees and probationers assisting at the hospital as part of completing their sentences.

According to the department, the move is part of rehabilitation on the part of the parolees and probationers and also an opportunity for them to practice what they have learnt while in prison. It is hoped the move will also ease overcrowding in prisons. 

Signing the memorandum of understanding on behalf of the department, the Correctional Services Department's Acting Area Commissioner (Johannesburg), Dr Gladys Nthangeni, said they partner with communities to help rehabilitate offenders, adding that "corrections is a societal issue."

As per agreement, parolees and probationers will be assisting at the hospital for free, doing among other things, gardening and assisting with administration work.

About 7 500 will be brought in at the hospital on a rotational basis. Nthangeni said the relationship they have started at Helen Joseph Hospital will be spread to other health facilities.

According to Nthangeni, throughout the country, there are about 45 000 parolees and 22 000 probationers. 

Helen Joseph Chief Executive Officer, Galdys Bogoshi, said as they are happy with the initiative and look forward to a lasting partnership. "We ... will sell the idea to other health partners."

Bogoshi appealed to community members to welcome the parolees and probationers, saying they have served their sentences.

One of the parolees, Mervyn Jones, 36, told BuaNews that he is excited about the agreement and looking forward to assisting at the hospital. Jones had spent 10 years behind bars for armed robbery.

He will be offering his services at the hospital until his parole ends in 2016.
"Crime does not pay," he said, urging young people to concentrate on their studies and stay away from crime.

Jones will be doing gardening at the hospital and said even when his parole conditions have ended, he will continue serving his community. - BuaNews

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