Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - latest Issue
Volumes & issues
Special Edition 1, January 2015
Author Frank J. PorporinoSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp I –IV (2015)More Less
The idea for this Special Edition of Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology, was conceived in a conference room at the Safari Hotel in Windhoek, Namibia. The International Corrections and Prisons Association (www.icpa.ca) was holding its 16th Annual Conference in Namibia in October 2014 - on the theme of 'Change With A Purpose: From Incarceration to Reintegration'. A few members of the Research and Development Committee of the ICPA were discussing ways to realise our committee's main objective - 'to promote the application of research-informed correctional knowledge for the advancement of professional and humane corrections and prisons worldwide'. How can we best influence the field of corrections in embracing 'evidence' to support change - in other words, to lead change more consistently with data and facts rather than just ideology and opinion? This has been an avowed objective for ICPA more generally and at least in part, the reason the Association was holding its Annual Conference in Africa.
Author Martin SchonteichSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 1 –17 (2015)More Less
Sub-Saharan Africa faces acute developmental needs. A significant number of individuals and households in the region eke out a precarious existence, where even slight financial setbacks can push families into abject poverty. A large proportion of the Sub-Saharan Africa's prisoners are pre-trial detainees - some 40 percent on average. Largely unexplored is the impact the widespread use of pre-trial detention has on the region's socio-economic development. The results of country-based surveys in three West African countries and ethnographic case studies of individual detainees and their families in Malawi, reveal substantial socio-economic impacts of pre-trial detention at individual and household levels. For individual detainees, pre-trial detention means lost income and reduced long-term employment opportunities as a result of illness or physical injuries acquired whilst in detention. For their families and households, it means economic hardship and reduced educational outcomes. When an income-earner is detained, family members must adjust not only to the loss of that income but also to costs of supporting that family member in detention, including travelling to visit the detainee, as well as supplying food and personal items for the detainee. Often detainees' children are taken out of school to provide domestic and financial support for other family members.
'The prison should not be an island' : the role of civil society in post-conflict correctional reform in RwandaAuthor Terry HackettSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 18 –43 (2015)More Less
Following the 1994 Genocide, the Rwandan government was faced with an unprecedented crisis within its prison system with over 120 000 prisoners being held in conditions that could only be described as inhumane. Over the past 20 years, conditions have improved through various government national unity and reconciliation and correctional reform initiatives, but what role did civil society play? This article begins by situating correctional reform and civil society within the larger peacebuilding rule of law and transitional justice framework before outlining the Rwandan context. A qualitative exploratory approach is then utilised to identify the role of civil society in post-conflict correctional reform in Rwanda. Twenty-two semi-structured interviews were conducted with government as well as international and local NGO officials involved in correctional reform in Rwanda since 1994. Participant interviews revealed that correctional reform activities conducted by civil society in Rwanda fell within three areas: peacebuilding and reconciliation; monitoring and advocacy and operational partnership and support. The importance of civil society's involvement in post-conflict correctional reform in Rwanda was also identified; including that Rwandan civil society shares ownership in the aftermath of the genocide, such as the reintegration and rehabilitation of those that caused the harm. In addition, challenges and best practices are identified as well as policy and practice implications.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 44 –61 (2015)More Less
Since gaining its independence in 1968 and the establishment of the Prison Act, there has been increasing recognition that corrections and the welfare of juvenile delinquents in Swaziland has been fraught with a wide range of challenges. In 2013, the Department of Correctional Services, for the first time, undertook a descriptive and exploratory study examining social background patterns of detained juvenile delinquents to establish a profile of juvenile delinquency in Swaziland. Data was collected from all 304 juveniles at Malkerns Industrial School in the rural town of Malkerns. A closed-ended survey with 33 questions was used to collect the data. Overall, the results showed that juvenile offenders in Swaziland have many of the same social challenges as do young offenders in most other parts of the world. The results provided the foundation for a number of recommendations on how Swaziland can consider moving forward in reforming its juvenile justice practices.
Author William ChirembaSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 62 –81 (2015)More Less
The available body of scientific information on sex offending is largely drawn from studies that were conducted in the western world. However, the cross-transportability of such evidence to Namibia at this point remains unknown. This study sought to explore the dynamics of sex offending in the Namibian context with the aim of collecting culturally and ecologically valid data with the ultimate goal of utilising the results of the study to inform policy decision-making and programmatic interventions for sexual offenders in Namibia. The study was in three parts. Part A involved a survey of offenders serving terms of imprisonment for sex offences in all the thirteen (13) Namibian correctional facilities on the 1st of June 2014. The purpose of the survey was to establish the exact number of sexual offenders in the custody of the Namibian Correctional Service and to obtain descriptive data of such sexual offenders. This was achieved through an analysis of relevant casefile documents and the completion of a structured questionnaire. In Part B, a set of rape supportive attitudes questions was administered to a total of 40 offenders - 20 of which were serving sentences for sex offences and another group of 20 offenders who were serving sentences for non-sexual violent offences. Part C used a semi-structured interview guide to collect data on the explanations tendered by sexual offenders to account for their actions. The semi-structured interview involved twenty (20) offenders drawn from correctional facilities in each of the four (4) Regional Commands of Namibian Correctional Service (NCS). The study showed that in excess of eleven percent (11%) of the total offender population was currently serving terms of imprisonment for sex offences. It also showed a strong proclivity of endorsing rape supportive attitudes among sexual offenders. It was also shown that the majority of sex offenders attributed their actions to various situational factors. Although in general the study findings were similar to international a few local nuances were also observed. This implies that rehabilitation approaches need some bit of tweaking to better respond to local culture and conditions.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 82 –100 (2015)More Less
Incarcerated female offenders have poorer mental health states compared to the general population. The present study set out to determine the levels of depression, anxiety and stress experienced by imprisoned female offenders. Through survey methods, quantitative data was obtained from 64 female offenders incarcerated at a correctional centre in Gauteng, South Africa. The questionnaire consisted of a biographical section and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale. The majority of respondents reported normal to moderate levels of depression (69.8%), anxiety (68.3%) and stress (74.2%). Nearly one in three respondents showed severe to extremely severe levels of depression (30.2%) and anxiety (31.8%). Unemployment prior to incarceration, having used illegal substances in the past, previous conviction and the duration of the prison sentence showed a significant correlation (p<0.05) with depression, anxiety and stress. It appears that some situations in prison promote anxiety since more than half of respondents (57.8%) identified with the statement "I found myself in situations that made me so stressed that I was most relieved when they ended". The greater part of respondents had relatively high levels of education which could in part explain the results of the survey.
Implementation of the Offender Risk Management Correctional Strategy (ORMCS) : from a punitive to a rehabilitative approachSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 101 –113 (2015)More Less
For many years, the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) has been implementing modern correctional reforms that are intended to reposition the NCS away from punitive approaches and toward reintegration of offenders into the community. Foremost among these reforms has been implementation of an Offender Risk Management Correctional Strategy (ORMCS), an approach that alters day-to-day management of offenders in fundamental ways. The ORMCS has led to practical and pervasive differences in how staff members work and the way the organisation 'thinks about' and reacts to offender risks and needs. This article highlights ways by which the ORMCS has changed the working methods and approaches of correctional staff, and reports on how offenders are benefiting from these changes. Critical and sequential aspects of both the new Case Management process and the Unit Management structure within the NCS are described, compared and contrasted. Discussions of some of the challenges that were overcome, as well as some of the remaining challenges were also included. Attention is drawn to how the NCS has operationalised the concept of 'rehabilitation' in an African context with the hope that information here will be valuable to other correctional practitioners in Africa inspired to adopt the same or similar strategy.
Community supervision of offenders released on full parole/remission of sentence in Namibia : translating policy into effective implementationAuthor Mariana MartinSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 114 –131 (2015)More Less
The implementation of the Correctional Service Act, Act No. 9 of 2012 in January 2014 in Namibia, resulted in greater numbers of offenders requiring supervision following early release on full parole or remission of sentence as compared to before, when only certain classes of offenders could be released on full parole and where release on remission of sentence required no supervision. As a result, the Namibian Correctional Service needed to design tools to better supervise and manage offenders on early release and motivate them to reintegrate into society. The Namibian Correctional Service needed a mechanism to allocate scarce supervision resources across large populations of offenders in such a manner that funds would not be wasted by distributing resources evenly over a population of offenders that presents an uneven risk profile. This could cause some offenders to be 'over-supervised', while others to be 'under-supervised' and as such, resulting in decreased public safety. In its endeavour to efficiently conduct Community Supervision, the Namibian Correctional Service devised a plan to deliver Community Supervision in the most efficient manner without compromising on public safety. The focus of available resources on offenders and areas where they were most likely to have a positive impact, was one of the strategies explored by the Namibian Correctional Service to create a viable Community Supervision approach in Namibia. However, various other strategies were identified. This article highlights some of these strategies. Furthermore, the article considers how the Namibian Correctional Service could further ensure the effective implementation of its new Community Supervision approach.
Different route, same destination? Assessing the (r)evolution of offender reform in South Africa twenty years into democracyAuthor P. MuthaphuliSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 2015, pp 132 –146 (2015)More Less
The history of the correctional system in South Africa has been characterised by the use of correctional facilities as dumping sites for unwelcome citizens of society. This has included severe punishment of offenders in the form of hard labour and torture. However, with the inception of democracy in the 1990s, changes started to take place within the correctional system to ensure its alignment with the Constitution of the country. A well-functioning correctional system is a crucial element of a civilised society, which means that those released from incarceration must be able to make the transition back into the community and adjust to life outside of corrections. Therefore, the respect of offenders' dignity and rehabilitation are central to all correctional services activities. In this article, the advances that have been made with regard to rehabilitation and offenders' rights and the treatment of inmates over the past 20 years of South Africa's democracy are examined. However, evidence indicating whether the South African correctional system is committed to rehabilitation as a key philosophical and operational goal is inconclusive or rather ambiguous.