The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) offers a wide variety of programs to sentenced offenders. Plenty of them can help with your emotional well-being and get you prepped for a happier life on the outside.
Boitumelo Moreng, a social worker at Hennenman Correctional Centre in Free State chats to CJN’s paralegal journalist Confidence Ntelele about the importance of correctional programmes. She helps us to unpack the main objectives that guide correctional centres, mainly to correct behavior and prepare inmates to be law abiding citizens upon their release.
“As a social worker I help with social problems, family relationship or personal problems like stress, behavioral problems or suicide,” says Moreng. The social work programs are more therapeutic, she adds.
The work she does has caused her to believe that “each and every person deserves a second chance and must be supported by the community and their family”. She says “after spending years in prison, we must give them the benefit of the doubt as a result of the new skills and knowledge they gained inside; because re-offending is also a result of lack of support and stigmatising”.
- Preparatory Programme for sexual offences
- Anger Management,
- Substance Abuse
- Restorative Justice
- Orientation Programme
- Pre-release Programme.
- New Beginning Orientation Programme
According to a DCS report, each programme is structured and has a specific set of goals and outcomes. For example, Anger Management has two goals: “To provide participants with information on the restoration of relationships and to enable participants to compile and implement a personal anger coping plan to deal with and manage future anger responses behaviour.”
The emphasis on sentenced prisoners means that these programs are not offered to prisoners who are awaiting trail, remand detainees. Moreng says “we only see awaiting trial prisoners on complaints and requests. For example when they have left kids alone at home and then we can liaise with social department to check on the kids…or when the arrested person was receiving the social grant we can liaise with SASSA to make sure that the kids don’t suffer because of the arrest”
Social workers face numerous challenges when dealing with remand detainees. Moreng says, “They rotate between prisons, they are always going on trial…they are not stable like the sentenced inmates” and that provides a challenge to the progress that social workers can sustain with them. Sentenced inmates are a priority because: “There is also a parole requirement that sentenced inmates have to fulfill so we have to see them so that they can comply with the parole board,” she says.
Listen below to their interview which is part of CJN and Hennenman Victim Empowerment’s work to bring a better understating of the work done by the DCS to the community and to listeners of the The Rock FM.