'Inconsistent' rehabilitation for troubled youth

Education and rehabilitation for troubled youth in correctional facilities is inconsistent.

The entrance to the infamous Pollsmoor prison in Cape Town. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Education and rehabilitation facilities for youth offenders behind bars are inconsistent and sub-standard, the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI) said on Monday.

The Department of Correctional Services said more than 50,000 youths are currently in its facilities across the country.

Many of these minors are serving custodial sentences for serious crimes.

The CSPRI's Lukas Muntingh said: "The thing that bothered us most was the inconsistency in the quality of service and retention conditions, and how the law is being applied and complied with."

Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz said the Correctional Services Department seems to be adhering closely to the Child Justice Act.

He explained this means fewer minors are ending up behind bars.

Instead, they are being sent to juvenile facilities.

"There are about 300 children in our facilities who have already been sentenced and there are about 478 who have not been sentenced - these are children awaiting trial, both boys and girls."