Community Corrections started on the 15 August 1991 in The
Republic of South Africa (RSA).
In the RSA there are basically two alternatives to
imprisonment, namely correctional supervision and parole, which are exercised by
the Department of Correctional Services and is called Community Corrections.
Community corrections is that component of offender
control which deals with offenders in the community.
The purpose of community corrections
The purpose of community corrections is to assist
offenders in their reintegration into the community and to exercise supervision
and control over offenders who have been sentenced to correctional supervision
placed out of prison under correctional supervision and those persons who have
been placed by courts under supervision of the Department of Correctional
Services as well as those offenders who have been placed out on parole.
Correctional supervision is a community-based sentence
which is served by the offender in the community under the control and
supervision of correctional officials, subject to conditions which have been set
by the court or the Commissioner of Correctional Services, in order to protect
the community and to prevent relapse into crime.
Correctional officials working at Community Corrections
offices Countrywide are responsible for the performance of various functions
with regard to offenders who are serving their sentences in the community. These
functions include, inter alias, the following:
Submission of pre-sentence reports to courts
No court in
South Africa may impose a sentence of
correctional supervision without a pre-sentence report either by a correctional
official or a probation officer.
Staff members with qualifications in behavioural sciences
or experts in behavioural/social sciences are placed at courts for the drafting
of pre-sentence reports which contain the basic/background information about an
accused person, which may assist the court in determining a suitable sentence
for the person concerned.
Dealing with persons not sentenced to correctional
supervision but only placed under our supervision
The following are the categories of the above-mentioned
Persons under the age of 18 years who, instead of being
released on bail, have been placed by the court or SAPS under the supervision of
the Department of Correctional Services pending further appearance in court.
Persons under the age of 18 years who have been placed by the
court under the supervision of the Department of Correctional Services.
Persons above the age of 18 years but under 21 years who have
been placed by the court under the supervision of the Department instead of
imposing punishment on him/her.
Persons to whom bail has been granted on condition that they
will be under the supervision of the Department of Correctional Services.
Persons placed under correctional supervision as a condition
for a suspended or a postponed sentence.
The Community Corrections Offices manage supervision over
the above-mentioned persons in accordance with the conditions that have been set
by the courts. In these cases where the court has left the setting of conditions
to the discretion of the Department of Correctional Services, the Head of
Community Corrections may set the necessary conditions in order to exercise
control over the offender, to protect the community and to address the
individual treatment needs of each case. Young offenders in the above-mentioned
categories are dealt with in co-operation with the Department of Welfare.
Setting/Executing of conditions for correctional supervision
as a sentence option
Supervision conditions give content to the sentence of
correctional supervision. This implies that without conditions one may not talk
of a sentence of correctional supervision. These conditions are primarily aimed
at exercising control over the offender and protecting the community and on the
other hand, they are also aimed at effecting change, reform and rehabilitation
of the offender. Compliance with these conditions is managed by the personnel of
Community Corrections Offices. The aforementioned conditions include, inter
alia, the following:
House arrest refers to that portion of the day/night when
the probationer does not work and is compelled to be at home. The period of
house arrest of individual probationers may differ.
The possible risk posed to the community is taken into
account when determining the probationer's placement under house arrest. When
the condition of house arrest is being set, the offender's working hours are
taken into account in order to avoid conflict between such hours and the period
of house arrest. Flexibility is also built into the condition of house arrest to
allow probationers to participate in organized sport activities, to attend
church services, to do the necessary shopping, etc.
-RESTRICTION TO MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT
This condition is set in order to ensure that the
probationer stays in a certain area and to exercise control over the offender.
Victim compensation is a monetary compensation that may be
ordered by the court as compensation for a certain loss that has been suffered
by the victim. In the case where the court has ordered that the probationer must
pay compensation to a victim, the Head of the Community Corrections Office
manages payment thereof as one of the probationer's conditions of correctional
supervision. Failure to pay victim compensation as ordered by the court is
regarded as a violation of a condition and the Head of Community Corrections
takes the necessary steps such as informing the court of the violation and the
court may impose an alternative sentence as may deem necessary at that stage.
Community service is a free service to the community which
a probationer may be ordered by the court to perform for a fixed number of hours
at a community service institution such as a hospital, school, old age home,
nature conservation projects or any other suitable institution. It is required
of the probationer to render such service in his/her spare time. Community
service must be of such a nature that it is to the advantage of the broader
-CORRECTIONAL PROGRAMMES AND LECTURES
Probationers may be compelled to attend specialised
programmes or lectures on specific subjects. These programmes and lectures are
aimed at addressing specific identified needs or problem areas of individual
cases with a view to prevent further criminalisation, to foster responsibility,
to prevent drug or alcohol abuse, to improve family responsibility,
relationships and the acquisition of social skills. These programmes are
presented by expert personnel of the Community Corrections Offices. Where such
expert personnel are not available, the Head of the Community Corrections Office
may arrange for the procurement of the services of external experts.
Other conditions include that probationers must have a job
and a place of residence or be physically/financially cared for and that they
may not change work or place of residence without prior consent of the Head of
Community Corrections. Use/abuse of alcohol, as the case may be, may also be
strictly prohibited. Furthermore, probationers must not commit any offence while
serving the sentence of correctional supervision.
Parole refers to that portion of the sentence of
imprisonment which is served in the community under the control and supervision
of correctional officials subject to conditions which have been set by the
Commissioner of Correctional Services or his/her delegate.
SETTING AND EXECUTION OF CONDITIONS FOR OFFENDERS PLACED
The following conditions are normally set for the
offenders who are placed out on parole:
Staying under the supervision and control of the Department
of Correctional Services until the expiration of their sentence of imprisonment.
Restriction to changing place of residence/employer without
prior approval of Head of Community Corrections.
That the offender may not commit any offence whilst under
Reporting at the Community Corrections Office at set
Engagement in certain programmes if this is deemed necessary.
Home confinement - this refers to that portion of the
day/night when the parolee is not working and is compelled to be at home.
Any other conditions which the Commissioner or his/her
delegate may deem fit.
FUNCTIONS TO ENSURE CONTROL OVER PROBATIONERS AND
In order to ensure compliance with the set conditions as
far as possible, all probationers and parolees are subject to monitoring which
is executed by correctional officials, temporary correctional officials or
volunteers who are under the control of the Head of Community Corrections.
Monitoring is done by means of:
telephone contact at home and at work;
visits to the probationer's/parolee's residence;
visits to the workplace; and
Compulsory visits by the probationer/parolee to the Community
Corrections Office for consultation purposes.
visits to probationer at a place where he/she renders
The degree/category of monitoring is determined by the
offender's possible risk to the community. Supervision/monitoring categories can
be divided into three namely, maximum intensive monitoring, medium intensive
monitoring and minimum monitoring. The most stringent monitoring category is
gradually scaled down to the minimum category of supervision depending on the
probationer's/parolee's positive co-operation.
EXERCISING CONTROL OVER VIOLATION OF CONDITIONS
The possible successful application and execution of
community-based sanctions is dependent on strict control and management of the
system. Violation of the conditions by the probationer/parolee does not
necessary lead to revocation of correctional supervision or parole but the
offender is first given the right to be heard.
Serious or persistent violations of conditions are dealt
with as follows:
- In cases where the sentence of correctional supervision
was directly imposed by a court, upon violation of conditions, such a case may
be referred to the court that imposed the sentence for the consideration of an
alternative sentence. Probationers whose sentences of imprisonment have been
converted into correctional supervision by the Commissioner or his/her delegate,
may be detained in prison in accordance with their original sentences of
imprisonment to serve the remainder of sentence of imprisonment. With regard to
parolees, the Commissioner or his/her delegate may order that such a person's
placement on parole be withdrawn partially or completely and that the parolee be
detained to serve the remainder of the sentence of imprisonment.
DISCUSSION FORUMS FOR THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE COMMUNITY IN
In order to involve the community in correctional matters,
particularly community corrections, each Community Corrections Office must have
a discussion forum which must meet at least quarterly, in which members of the
community are involved. The purpose of these forums are mainly to address
problems pertaining to the imposition and execution of correctional and parole
supervision, to make the community familiar with the activities of Community
Corrections, to initiate policy amendments, etc.
It is important to emphasise that Community Corrections is
an internationally recognised concept for dealing with a certain kind of
offender who could rather serve their sentence in the community than in a
prison. Therefore, the prison will always be there for those offenders who are
considered a danger to the safety of the community and who, during the period of
incarceration, continuously show no prospects of the possibility for dealing
with them effectively in the community.
PREPARATION FOR RELEASE
AIM OF RELEASE PREPARATION PROGRAMMES
The primary aim of the Release Preparation Programme is to
provide the prisoner with intensive treatment during the last phase of his/her
imprisonment with the view to preparing him/her for placement under correctional
supervision, parole supervision or upon release at expiry of sentence and
reintegration into the community.
Release preparation commences approximately ten weeks
prior to the prisoner's placement under correctional supervision or on parole
and lasts until two weeks before his/her placement. The object of release
preparation is to prepare the prisoner to deal effectively with the problems
which he/she may experience while in the community.
CONTENTS OF PROGRAMMES
The programmes consist of basic knowledge and skills which
all prisoners in the community require in respect of, inter alia, the following:
availability of skills training;
dealing with the stigma attached to imprisonment;
the use of drugs;
conditions with which the probationer and parolee must
actions that can be taken against the probationer or parolee
upon non-compliance of conditions;
External speakers and experts are utilised to present the
above-mentioned programmes/skills training.
Before placement in the community, all prisoners are
assisted timeously by community integration personnel to find accommodation and
work or support and they ensure that it is suitable for that specific prisoner.
An undertaking is obtained from family members/friends to
provide the prisoner with moral and other support during his probation or parole
period. Support includes the provision of a place to stay, food, basic clothing
and support in obtaining employment.
In the case of juveniles, intensive efforts are made to
promote family ties, arrange further schooling, etc. Prior to placement under
correctional supervision or parole, a prisoner is transferred to the place where
he/she intends to settle. In the case of needy prisoners who are placed out, the
following assistance is provided:
a certain amount of cash for expenses;
the necessary clothing in the case where they do not have
food parcels for the journey;
train or bus fare; and
tools and work dress for artisans.