National Overcrowding Task Team refines strategies to combat overcrowding in correctional facilities

Screen Shot 2023-03-08 at 09.21.44The National Overcrowding Task Team (NOTT) of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) convened a two-day meeting from 02 to 03 March 2023 at Krugersdorp Management Area, Gauteng Region, to deliberate on practical measures that can be adopted to manage overcrowding in Correctional Facilities.
Screen Shot 2023-03-08 at 09.22.07
The NOTT gathered to share views and explore strategies to manage the inmate population within correctional facilities, with specific focus on cross regional transfers.
The NOTT Chairperson, Chief Deputy Commissioner (CDC): Incarceration and Corrections, Anna Molepo kicked-off the meeting by providing a brief history on the formulation of the NOTT and its objectives. “DCS implemented the Eight-Pronged Strategy to manage overcrowding from 2006 to 2020. However, this approach did not yield the desired results insofar as the reduction of overcrowding. On the basis of this synopsis, the Overcrowding Reduction Strategy was formulated as one of the approved tools of trade,” CDC Molepo mentioned.
Screen Shot 2023-03-08 at 09.22.32
All six regions provided presentations based on the following factors which they deemed as significant contributors to overcrowding:

1. Bed space versus inmate population
2. Successes in the implementation of the Overcrowding Reduction Strategy in line with direct and indirect measures
3. Status on performance of the Regional Overcrowding Task Teams (ROTTs) governance structure
4. Transfer plans (including both inter-regional and cross-regional transfers)

The matter of transfers became a focal point on day one especially for the three regions with the highest numbers in overcrowding, namely: Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng. In the end, all regions agreed that one of the measures that can be put in place to alleviate overcrowding is by working closely to facilitate offender cross transfers.

Gauteng Regional Head: Corrections, Director Mmule Motsamai expressed her relief that the NOTT meeting was convene and was upbeat that delegates would emerge from the meeting with implementation measures to deal with the challenge of overcrowding across all the regions. “This was a much awaited session that affords us a chance to present our overcrowding challenges. We will ensure that we go back to the drawing board, rethink and plan on how we can best implement the existing strategies as guided by the session,” said Motsamai.
The second day of the meeting zoomed in on matters such as the increase in the monthly average of the remand detainee population, which in turn contributes to the increase in sentenced offender population. Mooted plans and solutions on bed space management and infrastructure and maintenance plans on correctional facilities became another focal point of discussion as regions raised concerns regarding some facilities. One other probable solution identified was focus on self- sufficiency centres which contribute to offender skill development and ultimately resulting in the reduction of overcrowding.

As she closed the meeting, CDC Molepo reflected on inputs made by members of the committee which include making amendments to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on the cross transfer plan. CDC Molepo said the configuration of centres and utilisation of region’s own resources in terms of offender labour, to make repairs in centres that need minor refurbishments should be attended to urgently with the assistance of Chief Directorate Facilities Planning and Property Management, adding that this intervention will assist in reducing some of the overcrowding by providing additional bed space.

The NOTT took a decision to resuscitate the National Building Advisory Committee (NBAC) which is empowered to take decisions on issues pertaining to facilities.

WordPress Lightbox