The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has launched a first of its kind life skills programme for remand detainees.

The launch was held at the Polokwane Correctional Facility in Limpopo on Tuesday.

“The life skills programme for remand detainees is aimed at self-development and empowerment, awareness raising and prevention and will further enhance their coping skills. This could contribute to the orientation of remand detainees and assist them in adjusting to the remand detainee facilities and to make decisions about their everyday life experiences,” said Departmental Deputy Minister, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa.

He said some 46 692 remand detainees held in facilities across the country would have access to the programme which covers, among others, the following areas:

  • General life skills focusing on emotional wellbeing, emotional intelligence
  • Problem solving instead of committing crime to resolve their challenges
  • Addressing addictive behaviour related to substance abuse and any other addictive behaviour
  • Dealing with peer pressure
  • Conflict management
  • Restoration of relationships
  • Domestic violence and its impact
  • Anger management skills

Holomisa emphasised that the programme will be run on a voluntary basis and will not infringe on their upcoming hearings.

“The provisions of the programme will be guided by the fact that the remand detainees have a right to be presumed innocent and will not be provided with programmes based on inferred charges unless prescribed by the courts.

“Consideration should be given to the fact that remand detainees are very uncertain and fluctuating population whose length of detention is beyond the control of the institutions and therefore the programmes delivered should be flexible,” Nkosi Holomisa said.

Added to this programme, remand detainees have enjoyed several other programmes as guided by the White Paper on Remand Detention Management.

“Remand detainees have been receiving these services as and when needed as they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“The life skills programme is but one of the latest additions among the following key services currently rendered to remand detainees. Namely, spiritual care, healthcare, social work and therapeutic interventions services as well as educational services,” Nkosi Holomisa said.