Thursday, February 25, 2021

Department of Prisons to address inmates problems

The Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation says it is engaged in the uprooting and solving of inmates’ problems.

Botswana has 5000 serving prisoners, a number that has accelerated the problem of overcrowded prisons.

As stiffer jail sentences following appeal devastate a lot of prisoners, services, like psychotherapy, are being offered to stabilize the situation.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Wamokwena Ramolefhe said that the introduction of counseling therapy sessions has made a difference concerning the behavior of prisoners. Gaborone Boys Prisons is now accommodating elder prisoners.

Initially, it catered for the age range of early twenties and it is still called ‘boys’ prison.
He said that the department is also health cautious and health and environment committees are responsible for welfare of the prisoners.

Ramolefhe stated that there are other committees that consist of inmates and prison warders.
Channels of launching a complaint amongst prisoners have been followed.

“Prison is a temporary settlement, so the community needs to accept and accommodates ex-convicts as they are part of the surrounding,” said Ramolefhe.

He called for family support as the family knows the background of the person better.

“We only know the offense committed but we do not know who the person is,” added Ramolefhe.

Drugs and substance abuse, anger management, positive parenting are said to be some areas looked at when rehabilitating the prisoners.

Increment of jail sentence after appealing is said to be devastating to a lot of prisoners and services like psychotherapy are offered to stabilize the situation.

Ramolefhe said that there are selected cell leaders who monitor at night and forward the complaint to the warder.

“The idea is to encourage them to solve the problems amongst themselves and they work hand in hand with the officers,” he said.

Ramolefhe stated that there is discipline in prisons and less negative cases are reported.
“Prison is a community therefore they must tolerate each other because they are there for one reason,” said Ramolefhe.

He said that talks between family members, prison warders and the prisoners open the minds and heals the affected.

“A family is a basic unit of life and it should actively participate in the rehabilitation,” said Ramolefhe.

He also stated that individuals offering rehabilitation services are welcome in prisons with screening done first.

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