Education key in transformation process of inmates


THE paradigm shift from prisons to correctional approach requires that as a Service, we focus more on the rehabilitation of offenders for successful reintegration into society.This is what is prescribed in international standards, and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) in Rule 4 prescribe that;
• The purposes of a sentence of imprisonment is primarily to protect society against crime and to reduce recidivism,
• The purposes can be achieved only if the period of imprisonment is used to ensure the reintegration of such persons into society upon release so that they can lead a law-abiding and self-supporting life, and
• This can be achieved through offering inmates with education, vocational training and work, as well as other forms of assistance that are appropriate and available, including those of a remedial, moral, spiritual, social and health and sports-based in line with the individual treatment needs of inmates.
Therefore, education is key in the transformation process and the importance of commissioning the classroom block for Kansenji correctional centre in Ndola on Friday cannot be overemphasised.
Given the benefits of Correctional education, I wish to direct the directorate of corrections and extensions services and all regional commanders to improve the quality and delivery of correctional education in all correctional centres and prisons.
My vision is to have a Correctional Service where;
• Education is available in all correctional centres,
• Inmates receive better and more effective correctional education programmes,
• Classroom time is increased for inmates, and
• Capacity is increased to maximize the number of inmates accessing education.
To maximise participation in correctional education programmes we also need to take practical steps to;
1. explore providing incentives like opportunities for early release to inmates who excel in correctional education programs because empirical evidence shows that educated inmates are more likely to make correctional centres safer and more positive and more likely not to re-offend,
2. Match correctional education programmes to inmates’ needs,
3. Offer extensive and general correctional education to inmates for better outcomes,
4. Integrate correctional education programmes into other correctional treatment programmes,
5. Integrate correctional education programmes with external services and continuing education to enable follow-up after release,
6. Align in correctional education programmes to local education systems to maximise co-operation, and
7. Build and strengthen partnerships with other organisations, governmental and non-governmental, in the provision of correctional education programmes.
I am reliably informed that Kansenji Correctional Centre currently has only two classrooms, one being used as a laboratory and the other as a classroom.
This means that the correctional centre did not have enough classroom space to cater for all inmates that require education.
However, I am excited that with the commissioning of the two classroom block last Friday, this will now be a thing of the past as the classrooms will accommodate 100 inmates each.
It is gratifying to see that through this practical step of improving the quality and delivery of correctional education to inmates, the national values and principles of human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination as enshrined in the Constitution of Zambia are now being translated into reality.
Therefore, I wish to commend the Kasenji Correctional Centre officer-in-charge, senior superintendent Malambo Hamunyemba, and the team of hard working officers for the job well done.
My command is impressed with the works that they have done. Their efforts cannot go unnoticed. Kasenji Prison has set a bar that other correctional centres should follow.
I wish to urge the Correctional Service Command in this Region, and Kansenji Correctional Centre authorities to be specific, to take good care of this new centre.
As you take good care of this new centre, you must always remember that correctional education is too important to be treated with apathy and neglect. You must always remember that how well discharged inmates reintegrate in the society depends largely on how much they participated in and benefited from educational and other treatment programmes in our correctional centres.
The quality of correctional education programmes is critical in ameliorating recidivism.
I also wish to urge the inmates to effectively utilise the centre and enrol as pupils. You must know that education is an equaliser and education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Therefore, don’t vandalise the centre.
May I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all stakeholders for the support rendered towards the completion of the project.
Gestures like this one give testimony of the unwavering good relationship that exists between the Service and its cooperating partners in the effective administration of the correctional system in the country.
The author is Commissioner-General of the Zambia Correctional Service.

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