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Government opens halfway house for parolees

Categories: Offenders and Ex-offenders rehabilitation, Social & Community

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Correctional Services has launched its first halfway house in the Western Cape, as part of a project to ensure proper support for ex-offenders before they are reintegrated into society. The initiative follows a pilot project in Gauteng.

"These halfway houses are for people who don't have monitorable addresses, who qualify for parole, but because they don't have monitorable addresses and they do not have a support system, then we put them in halfway houses," Pumla Mathibela of Correctional Services told eNCA.

The project forms part of a partnership between Correctional Services and halfway houses across the country. "What we do in the halfway houses [is] we continue to run programmes for them as we run them in the facilities, and we even go to the extent of assisting them in finding employment. I must say the success of the pilot project is that all the six youths in the pilot project are now employed by the City of Johannesburg," Mathibela said.

The facility has played a vital role for those who have attended it. "They helped me with education and teaching me a skill, sent me for a nursing course, and they gave me work," former offender Kanita Hendricks said. Hendricks said she would not have rebuilt her relationship with her family had it not been for the safe house. "My family didn't want me anymore because I messed up. I've been 11 years in and out of prison, so they were fed up."

She said things were different now. “They support me in whatever I do as long as it's the right thing, I can count on their support."

Meanwhile, the department of Correctional Services said it hopes the initiative will go far in its mission to release reformed offenders from its facilities.

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