9.11 Involving people under correction in community service and poverty alleviation projects 9.11.1 The premise of the Department of Correctional Services’ approach to offender involvement in poverty alleviation projects is that such involvement should enhance the constitutional role and responsibility of the Department. It should also aim to enhance the rehabilitation of the offenders involved. In addition, projects should be informed by Government’s commitment to sustainable development, which is a core component of the Department’s commitment to the prevention of crime and recidivism. 9.11.2 The departmental objectives in poverty alleviation / social development projects are: the projects should be designed so that they build close relationships with the community and in particular seek to undo the stigmatisation of offenders; the communities that are identified for such poverty alleviation / social development projects should include poor and high-risk communities of origin. identified by government for poverty alleviation projects; the projects should not be DCS hand-outs to the community, but should contribute to sustainable development and hence crime prevention; poverty alleviation/social development projects should not be once-off events, but should be part of a departmental coordinated multi-year, focused programme; poverty alleviation/social development projects should enhance rehabilitation, offender employability, skills development and the prevention of recidivism as important components of sustainable development; skills development and employability should take into account the structural changes in the South African economy so that the training of offenders is in line with the trends in output of the economy. In particular, the training should address the shift from goods to services within the South African economy; promotion of these partnerships with the community should be part of the media strategy around the launching of the projects; and involvement of offenders in such projects should aim to develop community awareness amongst offenders, engender a desire to serve the community as well as to develop the self-esteem of offenders. To this end, payment for labour performed in all DCS projects should be aligned with the wage levels set by Government policy. 9.11.3 The Department of Correctional Services should adopt an integrated approach towards poverty alleviation and social responsibility if the goals of community empowerment and offender rehabilitation are to be achieved. Poverty alleviation projects in the DCS should aim to attain a combination of outcomes that include: donations to communities to alleviate poverty; skills transfer to communities to facilitate sustainable solutions to poverty; and 68
enhanced societal responsibility for corrections and rehabilitation through partnerships.