n Acta Criminologica : African Journal of Criminology & Victimology - Offender reintegration programme and its role in reducing recidivism : exploring perceptions of the effectiveness of Tough Enough Programme

Special Edition 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


With a high recidivism rate of up to 94%, (Draft White Paper on Corrections in South Africa, 2003:71), it could be reasonably contended that a small percentage of the general population commits a high percentage of crimes. Considering the daily cost of approximately R39 million to accommodate incarcerated offenders, effective strategies to stop 'prison revolving door' need to be in place not only to curb the great cost to the community and taxpayers, but also to save hundreds of thousands of victims affected as a result of crime. The rehabilitation model suggests that problems of offenders, whether physical, psychological, or social, are the direct causes of criminal behaviour. Studies indicate that some rehabilitation and reintegration programmes may be effective under certain conditions and the recidivism rate lower for offenders who participated in such programmes. The time offenders spend in correctional facilities can therefore be used to diagnose, treat, and correct or at least mitigate these problems. In addition to their own offending behaviour that led to their imprisonment, the punitive and painful nature of the prison experience as well as exposure to anti-social attitudes and pro-criminal beliefs exacerbate habits of thinking and acting that can be dysfunctional once offenders are released back into their communities. This article focuses on the role that offender rehabilitation programmes play in reducing recidivism and explore perceptions of offenders, ex-offenders and rehabilitation providers with regard to the effectiveness of the Tough Enough Programme (TEP) offered by the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO). After informed consent was attained, this study was based on a qualitative approach which utilised purposive, non-random sample techniques. A sample of eighteen participants was selected which included: four NICRO's social workers involved in TEP; eight incarcerated participants from Medium C at Westville Prison and six probationers who were attending correctional programmes at the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) satellite office in Durban.

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