The South African justice system is facing challenges in reducing the extremely high level of crime. Some progress has been made in the area of crime prevention, but prisons remain overcrowded. Recidivism of released prisoners is estimated at 75%. Successful rehabilitation programmes and adequate rehabilitation structures are rare and still low on the agenda of concerned government departments. This lack of government response has motivated Nicro, the leading NGO dealing with crime prevention in South Africa, to develop and implement a reintegration programme.
The overall goal of the Young Offender Reintegration Programme (Tough Enough Programme) is to contribute to the development and implementation of an offender reintegration strategy in <>South Africa. It aims at supporting ex-offenders to reintegrate into their communities. It makes them accountable for their choices and assists them to take responsibility for their actions. The Programme encourages the ex-offender to realise the impact of their crimes have had on the victims. The ex-offenders are reintegrated into their families and society as constructive and responsible citizens.
At the same time the Programme advocates for offender reintegration to become a subject in the national agenda and that each concerned government department plans for either funding offender reintegration services or implementing offender reintegration themselves.
The Programme follows a two-pronged strategy designed to ensure that, parallel to the implementation of the programme, a regular dialogue takes place with government officials at all levels.
The Programme targets prisoners with 12 or less months of their sentence to serve. Ideally participants in the programme are between 18 and 25 year old. The programme assists both the prisoners and their families and works closely with their community.
Activities and Expected Results
The offender reintegration Programme challenges the participants to take responsibility for their actions and hold themselves accountable for their future and that of their families. The programme assists the prisoner and his/ her family to explore the opportunities and possibilities in assisting him/ her to reintegrate into their community. The programme involves the prisoner approximately three months before he/ she is released from prison. Upon release, the prisoner and the family are supported for a period of 6 - 9 months, after which the service is terminated depending on the prisoner's progress at the time. About 1000 clients will be reached annually.
The Programme also aims at expanding the existing links between Nicro and the concerned Government Departments. A national annual indaba and quarterly meetings will take place annually during programme implementation with a view to developing offender reintegration as a legitimate crime prevention strategy.
Nicro is a national non-profit organisation which renders crime prevention services in South Africa. It runs four national projects all guided by the principles of restorative justice.
The Programme has been developed over the last years at a limited scale. In view of its success Nicro has decided to scale-up its implementation from 2001. SDC is supporting these efforts in a first and second phase from September 2001 to November 2006.
SDC contribution amounts to R 3’400’000.- for phase one and R 4’000’000 for phase two.
NICRO functions in all nine provinces. The programme is implemented directly by the provincial offices.
NICRO National Office:
1, Harrington Street,
Cape Town, 8001
PO Box 10005, Caledon Square, 7905
Tel: +27 21 462 0017
Fax: +27 21 462 2447