On the 16th July, the SACBC Parliamentary Liaison Office together with NICRO, the Western Cape Department of Correctional Services as well as the Prison Care and Support Network, ‘Beauty for Ashes’ and ‘Realistic’, all organizations working with ex-offenders, held a roundtable discussion on ‘ Halfway Houses’ focusing on what happens once an offender is released. The paucity of services to help ex-offenders and their families with the reintegration process is a matter of concern. There are very few ‘Halfway Houses’ and those that exist face many challenges. The recent White Paper on Correctional Services seeks to give offenders new hope and encouragement to adopt a lifestyle that will result in a second chance towards becoming the ideal South African citizen. ‘Halfway Houses’ provide transitional living places and spaces for newly released offenders offering them the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to reintegrate into society in a supportive and encouraging environment. ‘Halfway Houses’ are a vital intervention in the lives of ex-offenders. The roundtable focused on best practice modalities, the difficulties encountered and the resources necessary for the establishment of such homes. The roundtable provided an opportunity for ex-offenders to engage with the Department of Correctional Services and service providers to develop a better understanding of both the reintegration process and restorative justice. Director Azwihangwisi Nesengani of the National Department of Correctional Services was the keynote speaker.
L-R: Mr Azwihangwisi Nesengani (National Department of Correctional Services), Fr Babychan Arackathara (Prison Care and Support Network), Stephanie van Wyk (Beauty for Ashes) and Solomon Madikane (Realistic)