Offender Reintegration

Questions (Blackboard)



The overall goal of offender reintegration is to reduce re-offending and enhance successful reintegration into society.  NICRO is reviewing its Offender Reintegration service this year and they are asking the following questions :

1)    Which government department should have the primary responsibility for offender reintegration for incarcerated offenders?

2)    Rate the current offender reintegration system in South Africa.

3)    Give an explanation for your rating in question (2) above.

4)    What are the major gaps in the current South African offender reintegration system?

–       No clear responsibility/ownership between the government departments?

–       Poor state/civil society working partnerships and relations/

–       Too little emphasis placed on what is known to work?

–       Politicisation/politicking of social welfare issues?

–       Poor interdepartmental collaboration?

–       Constantly changing plans and priorities?

–       Corruption?

–       Not properly utilising available resources (knowledge, skills, etc)?

–       Lack of civil society organisations collaborating with each other?

–       Inadequate state funding and budgeting?

5)    What are your general comments about the current South African offender reintegration system?

6)    How can communities and families be brought in to play a greater role in offender monitoring and management?

7)    What innovative ideas could you suggest for offender reintegration in South Africa?

8)    How can victims of crime be integrated into an offender reintegration service?

9)    Key responsibilities for offender reintegration for the future are . . .  (which do you think)?

–       State 100% responsible

–       Mutually responsible state and civil society expertise and partnerships (50 – 50)

–       Civil society needs to take over as the key manager of offender reintegration

10) The most essential elements of a successful offender reintegration service are:

–       Family reconstruction and reintegration work

–       Long term post-release after care

–       Income generation support

–       Re-housing schemes such as halfway houses

–       Community reintegration

–       Behavioural change programmes

–       Making the expungement of criminal records easier for petty offences

–       Surveillance schemes, such as electronic monitoring and tagging

–       More prisons

11) Which are the most important aspects (in any order) of offender reintegration taking place INSIDE prison?

–       Basic education

–       Substance abuse programmes

–       Substance addiction treatment

–       Vocational training

–       Prison industries

–       Parenting skills

–       Small business skills training

–       Life skills

–       Therapy

–       Structured physical exercise

–       Health care and mental health care services

–       Other

12) What offender reintegration activities must take place INSIDE prison and what must take place OUTSIDE prison after release?

13) What support do families of incarcerated and released offenders need to assist with the reintegration of the family member?

14) How long should the aftercare period (support provided from the date of release) be?

–       6 months

–       12 months

–       24 months

–       More than 24 months

–       Other

15) What support activities must form part of an effective aftercare service?

To complete the online survey, please click

The deadline is the end of August 2013.

A response to my last blog from an ex Manager who now lives overseas

Maldivian Island(free_1051670)
Hi Natalie
I hope this mail finds you well on Human Rights Day. In my heart of hearts I hope that this long weekend in SA will not end up in human rights (abuse) day(s).

I read your blog post for this week and I somehow feel that I want to help you find some kind of process or peace in this situation you feel stifled by.

We have come a long way and even before you joined us in Comms (at that time) I used to admire (and still do) the patience, dedication and energy to bring to your job even under the worst management and when people are just absolutely rude and disrespectful. You survived when so many others gave up or was pushed aside. The list of names is endless in your organisation when I think about it.

So many moved on and passed away and yet you are there giving it your best shot and offering not only your best but the energy to search and find the best out there.

And so… as we sometimes say this my bit for the baking…

1. Continue to believe in yourself — you are a strong woman and you will succeed in finding that change you so much desire.
2. Grow your skills and experience every day — this is something you already do with so much energy and enthusiasm (Unisa, sign language, blogging, church life etc)
3. Forget the NO-SAYERS — they will cry the day you pull the door shut behind you…. then their institutions will suffer and they will not have someone like you to pick up their pieces ALL THE TIME. It also says more about them and nothing about you, because they are not brave enough to give you a chance!
4. Collect your salary and give your 8-hours…. keep your impeccable record and only do what is necessary to keep the bonus coming in… we can all do with the little extra!
5. It is the other 16 hours that you buy with the albeit ‘un-stimulating’ 8 hours… this it the time where you can be free to do as you please and this is where you will make the connections to take you to a better place.
6.Nothing stops you from starting something new… (a) Register your company (use your mother’s name if you have to … how you trade is not so important as to what you trade (it is easy and cheap to do apparently) (b) advertise your services and test the waters (c) continue to build your contact base.
7. Continue to volunteer, but only focus on the activities with real buy-in and some returns…
8. Focus on your emotional and spiritual growth — focus on your health (since you have to have some surgery done… take the time out and do it! Do not delay…. the weather will do what it wants to do anyway!)
9. Give yourself a break! This is a very difficult one and something I think we all struggle with….
10. Know that there are many people out there who loves you! WE care and we know that to have you in our lives is a wonderful blessing… the strangers at work will never give us their all and working with someone a long time does not mean that they have our best intentions at heart or that they are keen for us to outgrow them…. Work on your ‘escape plan’ and the best is to think about saving as much as you can every month so that you can build up a buffer for 1 – year kind of like a gap year and this might include being 100% debt free etc…. then you work back from there….

So this is what i have to offer…. Another idea I just thought about… you and your sister can complement each other when it comes to her catering business and your organising skills…. think about that too…

Love you lots
Hugs and greetings to all.

I hope you will have a blessed weekend

Conversations with myself: I’m in turmoil




The conversation with myself I planned to share with you this week was supposed to be about the importance of community paralegals. However, I am currently in such turmoil about desperately being in need of a career change that I thought I better get this off my chest first.

The job I have currently (which I am extremely grateful for because it enables me to put food on the table) is no longer challenging. I have been in the same position for the last 10 years and have become bored and stifled with no room for growth or upward (or sideways) movement. I feel like a goldfish in a goldfish bowl going round and round in circles and getting absolutely no where. I’ve exhausted all the avenues via the hierarchal structures for movement within the organisation which has all fallen on deaf ears and, quite frankly, I’m now tired of asking, talking, begging, pleading etc.

I am currently working as a Communications Officer for a national Government department specialising in Internal Communications – managing website content, internal publications (newsletters etc), printed resources, promotional material etc

I’m being trained as a workshop facilitator (Train-the-Trainer programme)by Disabled People SA which is a 3-year voluntary programme I signed up for and which is one avenue I could pursue (to offer my services as a Workshop Facilitator). I would be able to provide advocacy type training as opposed to certified courses for which I am sure there is a need out there somewhere?

I have a Paralegal Diploma and am currently studying towards a BA Criminology degree so a Community Paralegal is also an option.

I have more than 30 years working experience as an Administrator so I’m very seriously considering starting a Virtual Assistant business from home, but, like any business run from home, the risk and financial insecurity is high and as sole breadwinner in my household, I’m not sure I’m ready to take the plunge. I am extremely diligent in the execution of tasks, excellent time management skills and “organised” is my middle name. I am a firm believer in “To Do” lists and have a “To Do” list for a “To Do” list (if you know what I mean?). Setting up database systems, bookkeeping to Trial Balance stage are all duties which formed part of my portfolio over the years.

The other gift/passion I have is event planning and organising. I absolutely loved organising surprise birthday parties and celebrations for my family – coming up with a unique concept, planning, implementing the plan and watching the reaction on the day is priceless to me but, do I want to do this for a living? Will doing this for a living take the fun and pleasure out of it for me? Will this then become “just a job”?

If I have all these options available to me, why is it so difficult to make a decision? I know the perfect career is out there somewhere just waiting for me, I just have not found it yet.

My biggest fear of walking away from what I have right now is the job security. Where I am now, the chances of being fired are almost non-existent (unless I do something terribly outrageous which is not part of my nature to do) and with the unemployment rate in South Africa being what it is at the moment, job security is what you need to hold on to as long as possible.

So what do I do? Do I walk away from the security blanket or do I stick it out? What do I do in the meantime while I stick it out? I’ve exhausted all the possible ways I could make my current job more interesting and exciting and have run out of options.

What do I do? Mmmmmm??

Conversations with myself: For Whom the Bell Tolls!


Today I have been inspired to write by an article published in The Cape Times (8 March 2013) written by Rev Alan Storey entitled “Churches must break silence about historical abuse of women”. I tried to personalise this article in my conversation with myself so here goes . . .

The article starts off with a little story about the “Silent Bell” – in the tower of the Central Methodist Mission in Cape Town is a massive bell weighing three and a half tons. For safety reasons, this bell has not pealed since the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. It was silenced because, when it rang, it shook the foundation stones of the church and surrounding buildings and consequently threatened their structure. It is now known as the “Silent Bell”.

I’m now asking myself the question: are we like this bell, largely silent about promoting equality among women and men? Maybe it’s because we know that making our voices heard would not only threaten the structures of society but would also threaten the foundations of our male dominant structures?

When we do speak out, do we speak out in the tone of male patriarchy? This false sense of superiority is what abuse of women is generally based on. Let’s see . . .

• Eve is jokingly blamed for eating the forbidden fruit and feeding it to Adam
• Some church leaders believe that women should be silent during worship. In some churches women are not allowed to speak from the pulpit
• We are raised to believe that fathers are the head of the household and they are the breadwinners
• We are raised to believe that wives should submit to their husbands, however, we are not told that submission does not mean we have to be his doormat

As women we are often told by church leaders to “go back and forgive your abusive partner” because the Bible says you must forgive, but nowhere in the Bible is anyone told to tolerate abuse. To forgive abuse does not mean you have to tolerate its occurrence, or the conditions that make it possible.

Do we confuse forgiveness with reconciliation? Reconciliation will always require forgiveness, but forgiveness does not necessarily end in reconciliation. Sometimes the journey of forgiveness includes moving on and not returning to the way things were before.

The shame of being abused by one who says “I love you” is enormous. This shame has the power to silence us into submission. We need to break the silence against violence against women and children.

Maybe we need to shake the foundations that support the notion of male superiority and male domination and female subservience which lies at the heart of gender inequality.