n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Criminological assessment of offenders : an analysis with the aim of promoting rehabilitation

Volume 16, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



In South Africa, and specifically in corrections, there has been a shift in thought on the treatment of offenders. This change embraces the concept of rehabilitation and the effective treatment of correctional clients to assist them to become law-abiding citizens. This places an obligation on therapists and society to shift the focus from incarceration to the enhancement of rehabilitation. A major challenge is to ensure that all offenders are positively developed and supported whilst they are incarcerated.

A holistic approach to teamwork and partnerships is necessary to develop and encourage the productive treatment of inmates. This approach could facilitate behavioural change. Pragmatic intervention by multiskilled professionals is necessary to enable, assist and empower offenders to cultivate their total functioning and to optimise their potential. Criminologists can give support to the treatment of offenders by focusing on individual assessments, analysing criminal behaviour, predicting recidivism and threat and development of developing treatment programmes. The use of multiskilled personnel would relieve the intense workload of social workers and psychologists in correction institutions. Therapists should concentrate on and target typical South African factors (such as cultural diversity, illiteracy, unemployment, overcrowded conditions, poverty and corruption) in and outside the prison, to bring about the effective rehabilitation of prisoners.

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