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- Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology
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- Volume 2015, Issue sed-2, 2015
Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Special Edition 2, January 2015
Volumes & issues
Special Edition 2, January 2015
Implementing information technology for corrections in Africa : a case example of the Namibian Correctional Service automated offender management information systemSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 1 –21 (2015)More Less
As corrections in the developing world moves away from punishment and towards the challenges of rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders, corrections officials are searching for ways to improve both their efficiency and effectiveness. Pursuing humane and professional correctional aims for the rehabilitation of offenders is a complicated task that requires multifaceted approaches and an inevitable embrace of modern management principles and strategies. The task is further exacerbated by the realities of a constant upsurge in offender populations, particularly because of an increase in the use of lengthier sentences. Corrections and prison services around the world, and increasingly in the developing world, are now expected to prove themselves as real contributors to public safety over the long term. In a fast-paced world where applications of technology are affecting every aspect of our lives, many prison services are falling behind and continue relying on traditional methods of organisational and offender population management. Various technologies to manage offenders are gaining popularity in the field of corrections but perhaps none offer as much potential to improve organisational functioning as offender management information systems. The Offender Management Information System that was recently implemented in Namibia is an automated and integrated data management system that records all of the key and relevant information related to management of offenders from intake to discharge. With a special focus on the Offender Management Information System of the Namibian Correctional Service, this article describes how the system functions and the requirements for its implementation. Challenges that can be expected in the development of any similar system, especially in Africa, are also discussed. The implications in terms of human capital, skills and finances required to manage such a system successfully are outlined.
Criminologists in corrections : an assessment and understanding of gang involvement and related behaviourSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 22 –37 (2015)More Less
Gangs and the involvement in gangs in prisons in South Africa have been covered extensively in the media. Street gangs and prison gangs are noted because of how they interact and their readiness to utilise violence to ensure power, control and dominance over contraband products, services and 'territories'. The power invested in prison gangs cannot be underestimated. In this regard, in South Africa, prison gang bosses have been instructed to harm and murder persons inside and outside the prison environment. These instructions serve to ensure (and to prove) the gang's power, control and their readiness to employ violence. This article uses a qualitative approach in the analysis of an adult male gang member in a correctional centre. The authors of this article demonstrate a practical criminological assessment of gang involvement and the existence of pro-criminal and pro-violent thinking patterns by identifying gang-related causes, motives, contributory factors, triggers, and high-risk situations. A case study is presented to outline how the gang member's life circumstances and gang involvement has enfolded into a life of crime. Lastly, the authors explain the offender's behaviour on the hand of applicable criminological theories. Although the politically correct word when referring to a correctional facility is a 'correctional centre' in South Africa, the word 'prison' is used by the media, the public, in literature, and within the academia. For the purpose of this article, the authors will use both the words 'prison' and 'correctional centre' interchangeably.
Community engagement in correctional facilities : changing perceptions to make correctional centres sites of preferenceSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 38 –51 (2015)More Less
Many students are distanced from the realities of correctional facilities and never consider doing practical community engagement programme s in a correctional centre. Students of criminology usually deem practical community engagement work in corrections as a high-risk unnecessary endeavour. The authors explore how students' sense of civic responsibility changes over time when they are tutored to do community engagement in correctional facilities. The perceptions of students were gauged before embarking on a community engagement project in a correctional facility and were then requested to write a phenomenological report about their experience after the completion of the seven-week project. Many students transformed dramatically and their perceptions changed significantly. In addition, this contribution also focuses on the position of tertiary institutions in community engagement. Although many consider corrections dangerous areas for community engagement, tertiary institutions have no choice but to engage in this frequently forgotten population. The White Paper for Post-School Education and Training (Department of Higher Education and Training, 2013) contextualises a range of issues and highlights compulsory curricular activities in disadvantaged often forgotten communities. The authors believe that tertiary institutions and especially student projects in corrections will improve the practical value of criminology as a discipline and contribute more to the restorative ethos that features strongly in the South African Criminal Justice machinery.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 52 –65 (2015)More Less
The article explores, using the strengths perspective as a theoretical framework, the challenges faced by social workers rendering services in a maximum correctional facility. Social workers employed by the Department of Correctional Services are involved in the rehabilitation of those incarcerated by offering a range of professional services. A qualitative study was conducted utilising a review of the literature and interviews with social workers employed at a maximum correctional facility in order to explore the challenges they face in rendering services to offenders incarcerated in a maximum correctional facility. The findings reveal that social workers' challenges include a lack of proper physical facilities, misunderstanding of the social worker's role, a lack of support and professional relationships with offenders. Based on these findings, recommendations are made that these social workers receive additional training together with the generic social work training they have already undergone.
Challenges faced by ex-inmates after their release from incarceration in the democratic South AfricaAuthor T.D. MatshabaSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 66 –78 (2015)More Less
Recidivism amongst ex-inmates has received a good deal of attention from the departments of Justice and Correctional Services, as well as social and behavioural scientists in South Africa. However, less attention has been paid to the challenges facing ex-inmates during and after their release from incarceration. This article briefly describes the conditions in the South African correctional system with reference to the inmate release programme in the post-1994 democratic South Africa. The article briefly discusses the theoretical foundations relevant to this study. In order to understand the identified challenges, namely: substance abuse, lack of accommodation, community and family support and access to employment that ex-inmates face, one-hundred-and-forty-four ex-inmates participated in this study. The data was collected by means of focus group interviews. Two focus groups interviews consisting of eight ex-inmates per group were conducted in all provinces of South Africa. The results of this study indicated that both male and female ex-inmates, upon their return back into society from incarceration, face a number of daunting challenges. These challenges include finding employment, problems related to substance abuse, and maintaining a stable relationship with families and members of the communities to which they return.
Exploring the nature of the relationship between self-esteem and offence type of a group of recidivistsSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 79 –93 (2015)More Less
The discrepancies between perspectives on self-esteem and its effect on problematic behaviour have undermined self-esteem as a prominent indicator of future and repeated offending behaviour. Further inquiry has, however, led researchers to believe that although self-esteem may not have a causal relationship with offending behaviour, it is considered a strong indicator of the type of offence individuals at risk are likely to commit. Quantitative analysis was conducted using the self-concept theory of Carl Rogers to guide the research. A purposive sample of 73 male repeat offenders from ten correctional centres in the Zululand area was included in the study. Self-esteem was assessed in light of numerous variables focusing on offence type. The results indicated that the self-esteem scores of the repeat offender sample varied significantly in terms of offence type. Aggressive offenders had the highest levels of self-esteem. Differences in self-esteem scores were also found between sexual offenders and participants classified as economic, narcotic and "other" offenders. Further differences in self-esteem scores were found between a combination of offenders classified as economic, narcotic and "other" when compared to the total sample mean.
Polygraph potential in South African corrections : in pursuit of reform, reintegration and recidivism reductionSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 94 –105 (2015)More Less
Although not without controversy, polygraph usage in South African corporate society is ongoing and typically consumed by specialised sectors such as the retail and security industry. Despite appreciable utilitarian benefits and the fact that successes have been obtained abroad with regard to polygraph application in penal settings, polygraph is currently not utilised in the formal South African corrections environment. Although it is undeniably somewhat contentious in terms of its convention, it would appear that there is considerable merit for the use of polygraph as a management/investigative tool and quasi-coercive mechanism generally. This article fuses contemporary polygraph literature with an empirical survey of the polygraph perceptions of an interned female offender cohort in an attempt to develop strands of evidence that will potentially vindicate or vilify its locomotion in custodial settings. The utility of polygraph application in corrections is considered in respect of its capacity to enhance inmate veracity, promote parolee obedience and mitigate recidivism through polygraph deployment in the exigent correctional and recidivism theatre. This article seeks to edify some of the more ambiguous matters underlying and potentially curtailing the development of a polygraph logic in South African prisons.
Managing incarcerated women after establishing their knowledge levels of HIV and Aids : a case study of the Johannesburg Female Correctional CentreSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 106 –124 (2015)More Less
This article examines the knowledge levels of incarcerated women in South African correctional centres about HIV and AIDS. It also discusses the way that women inmates should be treated with reference to their medical needs and HIV and AIDS status. Against this background the article reports on a case study of the attitudes of South African women inmates to sex, the risk of HIV and AIDS, and the treatment of HIV and AIDS while incarcerated. The article makes recommendations on how the treatment policy for female inmates could be improved. It also concludes that female inmates should be provided with more and better information about HIV and AIDS.
Risk factors and circumstances surrounding suicides in correctional centres in Gauteng, South AfricaSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 125 –143 (2015)More Less
Suicides occur in correctional centres even though the behaviour of offenders is supposed to be closely monitored and regulated. The present study set out to identify and describe the risk factors and circumstances surrounding suicides in selected correctional centres in Gauteng (Johannesburg, Zonderwater, Boksburg and Kgosi Mampuru II). Qualitative methods, in particular semi-structured interview and focus group strategies, were followed to obtain data from two psychologists, two social workers, nine case management officers and twelve offenders. In addition, the case files of eight offenders who committed suicide in a correctional centre were scrutinised for information regarding their backgrounds, mental health, contact with their families, sentences and parole applications. The study identified an array of risk factors associated with suicide in correctional centres that can be categorised in terms of individual, interpersonal and structural contributors. Important risk factors include contact with families, mental health, type of cell accommodated in, access to prescription medication and overcrowding. The general strain and escape theories are used to explain the phenomenon of suicide in correctional centres.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 144 –159 (2015)More Less
One of the biggest challenges correctional centres face is to manage behaviour that could be life threatening and potentially dangerous to their inmate populations. Although assaults and stabbings occur quite frequently it is the behaviour where there are in some cases consent involved that challenge the safe governance of inmates. Although consensual sexual intercourse, rape, tattooing and injecting drug use occur in corrections, it is strictly prohibited by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). Notwithstanding the outlawed status of these activities, it seems like it occurs unabated anyway. These activities are a high-risk for the exposure and transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), also known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) during an offender's period of incarceration. This study explores offender perspectives on the causes of STIs, HIV and AIDS in a South African correctional centre. Creswell's dominant-less-dominant mixed methodology strategy was followed. By using a structured interview schedule 100 face-to-face interviews were conducted with male offenders comprising of child, juvenile and adult remand detainees, as well as juvenile and adult sentenced offenders. The research participants identified sexual intercourse (consensual and coerced) as the major contributory risk factor to their exposure to and transmission of STIs, HIV and AIDS. This article also presents an overview of studies by other scholars on sex, tattooing and drug use in correctional settings.