Inmates produced 13 million kilograms of vegetables and meat at correctional centre farms and abattoirs last year


More than 13 million kilograms of vegetables and meat were produced by inmates at correctional centre farms and abattoirs last year.

From April 2011 to March 2012, inmates produced 6,347,395 litres of milk, 583,723kg of red meat, 1,740,243kg of pork, 1,181,760kg of chicken, 1,547,534 dozen of eggs, 9,091,151kg of vegetables and 652,131kg of fruit.

Earlier this year (August 2012), the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) in Gauteng once again emerged a winner at the 2012 Nama Phepa Awards. The Department’s abattoir at Leeuwkop Correctional Facility in Johannesburg was declared the best in the province for three successive years in the category of Low Red Meat Abattoir, winning the gold award. The awards are aimed at ensuring that meat from Gauteng meets the highest standards of hygiene.
Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele says the hearts, heads and hands of offenders must be impacted. “As the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), we want to ensure that rehabilitation programmes impact the hearts, heads and hands of offenders. Key to rehabilitation is empowering offenders with skills to function effectively in society upon their release but, equally important, is to ensure that offenders are actively involved in productive activity while they serve their sentences.

“DCS is making progress towards establishing a trading entity, which will impact positively on utilisation of offender labour. Through this trading entity, we can offer our customer base consisting of government , NGO’s and the private sector a wide variety of products and services, ranging from furniture, clothing, printing, steel works, food products, agriculture and many others. In addition, DCS will continue to donate products to disadvantaged communities from time to time to help alleviate poverty.

“Currently, 1,873 offenders are studying towards their Grade 12/Matric. Nine hundred and ninety one (991) offenders are studying towards post-matric/higher education and training qualifications, 4,042 towards further education and training (FET) college programmes (including electrical engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and marketing) and 3,853 towards skills development programmes (including basic business skills training and entrepreneurship). From next year (2013), it will be compulsory for every inmate to complete ABET level 1 to 4,” Minister Ndebele said.

Meanwhile, on Friday (2 November 2012), the Brandvlei Youth Correctional Centre, in the Western Cape, was awarded second place at the finals of the 2012 Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) Annual Public Sector Innovation Awards. The centre’s radio project, that seeks to build life and technical skills of offenders, was a finalist in the Innovative use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) for effective service delivery category. The project, dubbed Basic Radio, competed with 11 other government departments. The goal of this needs-based rehabilitation, a partnership between the University of Cape Town and DCS, is to influence offenders positively to adopt ideal norms and values and to also develop life, social and labour-related skills. Educational programmes in the form of health, offender, gender and HIV and AIDS topics make up 30% of the programming, and news and actuality 10%.

In terms of innovation, the project aims to provide offenders the opportunity to alter the way in which they perceive themselves and the world around them, and allow them to express themselves and accept themselves as well as others. Since the radio station was started, more than 150 offenders have been trained in radio broadcasting and re-offending has decreased substantially. Some offenders used broadcasting as a stepping stone to pursue careers upon their release. Partnerships have been formed with community radio stations, including Valley FM in Worcester and Eden FM in the Southern Cape, to be used as a platform by offenders who have been involved with correctional centre radio.

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