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Early Intervention the Key to Overcrowding and Crime Reduction - NICRO

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Offenders and Ex-offenders rehabilitation
Safe, controlled community-based intervention the key to overcoming prison overcrowding and reducing crime in South Africa

Cape Town, June 19, 2013 – The National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO), a non-government organisation (NGO) that provides rehabilitation and reintegration services to adults and children in conflict with the law, believes non-custodial remand for low risk offenders should be the first option sought by the courts to alleviate prison overcrowding in South Africa.

“The Minister of Correctional Services, the Honorable Sibusiso Ndebele, is leading the way in the development of technology-based remand alternatives and NICRO fundamentally supports this,” says Soraya Solomon, Chief Executive Officer, NICRO.

Earlier this month NICRO launched a patented new technology, Remand Revolution, that uses mobile phone technology to manage and communicate with low-risk remand prisoners in the community.

“The earlier the behavioural intervention, the more likely the success of changing behaviour and the more chance we have of reducing crime in the long term,” says Solomon.”

“This is why we have invested in supporting this initiative by the Minister. NICRO has over 100 years of experience and programs designed to rehabilitate prisoners and change offending behavior.  If we can intervene before low risk offenders, some of whom are never found guilty, are put into prison on remand, we have a much greater chance of success. 

“Our focus is, and always has been, on safe, controlled, community based-rehabilitation, with ‘safe’ and ‘controlled’ the all-important keys to making this a reality,” says Solomon.
“We work closely with the Department of Correctional Services on practical ways to achieve the best possible outcomes for all stakeholders – victims, offenders, the criminal justice system, and the general public.”

NICRO historically has offered three distinct services allied to – but separate from – the criminal justice system: diversion, non-custodial sentencing and offender reintegration.

“It is a natural extension for us to include community-based remand. Through the patented technology, we are able to provide our services in a cost-effective manner, saving the country money while significantly reaching more people and improving the impact of our services,” says Solomon.

 “In each case the hard work has to be done up-front. That means thoroughly investigating an individual’s risk profile through assessment of his psychological make-up, circumstances, prior criminal record, standing in the community, and family networks, among other things, before a suitable course of action can be recommended. 

“This is where the real focus should be, because only through this process can we ensure safe, controlled rehabilitation in an environment that best serves offenders, their communities and the public. Once we’ve established the viability of a candidate for community remand and intervention we can use technology to make that process a practical reality.”

South African prisons are critically overcrowded, with recent statistics suggesting the population of 158,000 prisoners is approximately 134 per cent over capacity. At least 47,899 of these prisoners – more than 30 per cent – are awaiting trial, costing the taxpayer more than R4 billion a year.

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For further inquiries towards NICRO programmes and how you can get involved
Jacques Sibomana
Communication & marketing Manager
National Institute for Crime prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders
Tel: 021 462 0017
Fax: +27(0)21 462 2447
Email: Jacques@nicro.co.za
Website: www.nicro.co.za
Twitter: @NICRO_
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NICRO2

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