Gauteng region hosted the first regional Community Correctional Stakeholders Summit on 29 to 30 March 2022 at Leeuwkop Management Area. The summit was attended by two hundred guests inclusive of Community Corrections staff.
The recent spate of violent crimes at the hands of parolees within the region has amplified the public outcry and shaken the integrity of the parole system in most communities. Gauteng Regional Commissioner, Advocate Moeketsi Mashibini welcomed a range of stakeholders, with a vision to engage in constructive conversations aimed at forging and consolidating strategic partnerships, and finding synergies to give impetus to a service-driven strategy in the critical areas of after-care in corrections.
“Community Corrections cannot function without the stakeholders relevant to its areas of functioning. The fight against reoffending, and building safer communities remains with us all. “After-all, corrections is a societal responsibility,” shared Adv. Mashibini.
Gauteng region is responsible for nearly 11 000 parolees and probationers spread across eight management areas. Social dynamics put strain on offenders conditionally released into communities, which often leads to loss in support systems and parolees becoming absconders. There are 9 036 active absconder cases in Gauteng alone. An array of presentations from critical stakeholders provided a basis for existing services and a renewed vision.
Robust discussions in commissions led to the development of action plans on the following:
- An integrated approach to absconder management
- Expansion of economic opportunities
- Restorative Justice approaches
- Community initiatives
Commitment was given from the following by stakeholders in attendance:
- UNISA pertaining to guidance on recognition of prior learning for the educational growth of Community Corrections staff
- Department of Home Affairs, on extension of mobile services to offenders, parolees, and staff across the region
- Processing of sample lists at the Criminal Record Centres for system generated reports for absconders
- Home Affairs, on system access to generate status reports to down manage archived absconders (death notifications)
- Extension of available community-based service hubs to parolees and probationers including access to economic opportunities
- Intensified joint operations to trace absconders with the South African Police Service
Community Corrections remains at the business end of corrections and plays a critical role in fostering societal cohesion. “The down-management of absconders is one of the projects identified in the Gauteng region. To this end, Gauteng is embarking on a process to address its functional gaps through project management so that we may measure ourselves progressively through the targets we set ourselves against,” Adv. Mashibini concluded.