Pretoria: Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has called on mothers to support young inmates.
“We are calling upon our mothers, in particular, to help us focus on the vast bulk of inmates – young Black men. We have approximately 53 000 youth in our remand detention facilities and correctional centres, and a large number of inmates who, while not under 25, are still in the prime of their life. We must change this,” Ndebele said.
“We need to accept that crime and criminality is entirely about failures in society, and not a direct consequence of the failures of the system of Corrections.”
Ndebele said preventing a life of criminality begins with the family unit, the social fibre and the opportunities for growth that children get access to.
He said it is an extremely concerning that children, who normally should not be at the correctional facilities, have committed serious crimes ranging from murder, rape and theft.
“The fact that these children, as young as 17 years of age, have committed serious crimes should make society question where we have failed in protecting our children from a life of crime,” Ndebele said.
Ndebele said the manner in which children are brought up determines the kind of society in the future, including the individuals living in such a society.
“Many children start a life of delinquency at a tender age, running away from school and committing petty crimes.
“Many of our offenders are young people who have never experienced proper upbringing, and family life, themselves. It is for this reason that the department has introduced training of offenders in Early Childhood Development (ECD) skills so that they can become ECD practitioners,” Ndebele said.
The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Women’s Month programme is being celebrated under the theme, “Addressing Inequality and Empowering Women Officials and Offenders in the DCS: Together Contributing towards the Progressive Future for Women.”