The Community Corrections Branch of the Department of Correctional Services in Johannesburg continues to operate without an office as the Department owes R2 million in rent and officials have been locked out since 3 August. This means that parolees and probationers have had to report to an “open-air office” on the pavement.
This situation came to light several weeks ago, without the Department taking steps to solve it. It is bad enough that the Department has landed up in this situation in the first place but worse that it was not sorted out immediately.
The parolees and probationers are reportedly being forced to register and be interviewed in full view of the public at a single desk on the street. In addition, all of the branch’s files remain locked inside the building.
This situation places intolerable strain on both officials and parolees alike.
The reintegration of offenders is crucial to breaking the vicious cycle of reoffending. Yet too often, the Social Reintegration branch and its personnel are treated with no appreciation of their importance. This situation is a graphic illustration of this.
I will be taking the matter up with the Correctional Services regional commissioner, Zacharia Modise, as well as the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services. It is unacceptable that this situation has continued for three weeks and it needs to be resolved immediately.