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Govt can’t afford to build more prisons, looks to religion for help

The spiritual care expo aims to showcase the work of organisations who are helping set inmates on the correct path.

Officials seen at the spiritual care expo held at Pollsmoor Prison on 6 November 2019. Picture: Lizell Persens/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Correctional Services has faith that religion could help free up prisons; this is the message behind a spiritual care expo being held at Pollsmoor Prison over the next three days.

It's being attended by correctional services officials and organisations geared towards the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.

On Wednesday, the packed recreational hall at Pollsmoor Prison was filled with uniformed officials, NGOs and some inmates.

The spiritual care expo aims to showcase the work of organisations who are helping set inmates on the correct path.

Justice and Correctional Services Deputy Minister Nkosi Patekile Holomisa said government was not in a position to build more prisons.

For this reason, they are urging offenders to make use of the skills training programmes offered, so they can give back to their communities when they get released.

“Too much criminality is taking place. We don’t have enough resources to build more centres, so we need to find ways to reduce numbers in our correctional centres.”

Meanwhile, High Court Judge Siraj Desai said the high level of repeat offenders in SA needed to be addressed.

Speaking at Pollsmoor Prison’s first-ever spiritual expo, he said the issue needed to be dealt with at all levels.

“Various steps are taken to prepare them for the outside world, but the problems outside remain the same, rehabilitation remains difficult. All we can do is ask the community to assist the department.”

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