Address by Correctional Services National Commissioner, Tom Moyane, at the Corrections Prayer Day event held in Losperfontein Correctional Centre on 3 October 2010 to close the Corrections Week 2010 campaign
3 Oct 2010
Executive Mayor of Madibeng, Clr. Sophie Fande Molokoane
Machika Municipality, Chaplains
Ladies and gentlemen
It is a great honour for me to be part of this august occasion. An occasion meant to express our gratitude to God for the achievements we have registered thus far as correctional services working with all our stakeholders. We believe we could not have achieved the milestones we celebrated since Sunday last week without Devine Intervention. I strongly believe the Corrections Week 2010 campaign would have been incomplete without today’s event that affirms our strong believes that we are spiritual beings.
Faith-based communities’ role in correctional services continues to move from strength to strength and in particular have been outstandingly successful in going beyond the targets set in our strategic plans. With just 41 Chaplains we could not have achieved 50 000 church services and 178 thousand sessions held during the 2009/10 financial year. We take our hats off the nearly 2 200 spiritual care workers that faithfully and religiously sustained delivery of spiritual care to our 161 000 inmates.
One of the major challenges we face as correctional services and society in general, is a scenario where those incarcerated for their criminal deeds against society break bonds with families and communities and instead build unsavoury relations with the incarcerated community of inmates, which help them graduate into more hardened criminals. Besides the basic mission of locking up offenders to protect society, our greatest mission is to ensure that they are successfully rehabilitated and re-integration into societies where they came from in a sustainable manner.
Such a rehabilitation mission is far more difficult and complex that the primary reason for establishment of prison systems, that is “locking up and throwing keys away”. It is about reconstruction and development of the souls and characters of those placed in our care. How can anyone hope to achieve this without a return to God, the Creator of the characters and souls entrusted to us by society?
We know that many faith based structures played a pivotal role in breaking the shackles of apartheid and attainment of freedom. We still believe today’s challenges can be overcome only if we work side by side and spare no effort to effectively break the cycle of crime so that all people in South Africa “are and feel safe”. In many instances where crime was committed, the perpetrator him/her self was earlier a victim of crime or abuse. Because they never mastered the art of forgiveness they remained victims, retaliated with vengeance and ended up serving long terms of imprisonment.
With the Devine Power, you carry our greatest hopes and ambitions of a people’s correctional system that is effective and central in breaking the cycle of crime. Of course we celebrate the pioneering and leading achievements of the spiritual care community today, but the extent of many more mountains to climb must still remain vivid in our minds.
The challenges we still have to overcome include:
- Dismal functioning of our restorative justice system that is demonstrated by among others the 2% victim participation in the administration of the parole system of South Africa
- A need for an overarching coordinating structure for all faith based institutions responsible for delivery spiritual care services to inmates across the country
- Complete alignment of our respective multi-year strategic plans so that we can collectively improve the scope and impact of our interventions
- Re-affirming of the moral authority of faith based community that does not only focus on inmates but remains the conscience of government, the department and major players in the Corrections Industry
- Taking of delivery of correctional services in general and spiritual care services in particular to an unprecedented higher trajectory as we are gearing our selves towards celebrating 20 years of freedom in 2014.
These are difficult but achievable targets if we work together in the spirit enunciated in the White Paper on Corrections that calls for societal responsibility for corrections. The policy framework I have mentioned that the ideals of successful re-integration of offenders begin from the day a person is incarcerated and must be sustained throughout his/her rehabilitation path.
May God bless all of us and give us wisdom to carry-out his noble mission of correcting the offending behaviour and reconstructing characters of His children. We must succeed to deliver on all our three legged mandate of security, rehabilitation and social re-integration of offenders. Failure is not an option, because all people in South Africa deserve more and better delivery of Correctional Services as they long to be and feel safe in their homes.
Cell: 083 626 0304
Source: Department of Correctional Services
Issued by: Department of Correctional Services
3 Oct 2010
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