More inmates to be trained in agriculture activities
The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is aiming towards self-sufficiency through full utilisation of its 40,000 hectares of correctional centre farm land.
Over the past two years (2011 to 2013), almost 30 million kilograms of vegetables, fruit and meat were produced by inmates at correctional centre farms and abattoirs. During the same period, 5,578,133 loaves of bread were produced at its six bakeries. At the Boksburg Correctional Centre Bakery only, 22 offenders produce 2,000 loaves of bread daily which feeds 5,000 offenders.
The abattoir at Leeuwkop Correctional Facility has been declared the best in Gauteng, for the past five successive years in the category of Low Red Meat Abattoir, winning the gold award, whilst the abattoir at Middledrift Correctional Facility was declared the best in the Eastern Cape, for the past three successive years, in the same category.
Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele wants more inmates to be skilled in agricultural production. “As part of creating an active offender community, offenders must work and study and leave correctional centres with a skill in one hand and a certificate in the other hand. To this end, more inmates will be trained in agricultural production. As DCS, we want to achieve self-sufficiency through our correctional centre farms.
“At least 95% of those incarcerated will return to society after serving their sentence. Offenders must return as better, changed and law-abiding citizens. Key to rehabilitation is empowering offenders to function effectively upon their release but, equally important, is to ensure that offenders are involved in productive activity while they serve their sentences,” said the Minister.
Agricultural productivity takes place on 21 correctional centre farms, and 96 smaller vegetable production sites, all spread over some 40,000 hectares of land. Vegetable production takes place on 21 farms, and 96 smaller centres; fruit production on 13 farms; milk production on 17 farms; red meat on 18 beef and five small stock farming units; chicken on four farms; layers on seven farms; red meat abattoirs on 17 farms; white meat abattoirs on three farms; and 15 farms focus on piggery.
During the past two financial years, April 2011 to March 2013, inmates at correctional centre farms and abattoirs produced 12,933,106 litres of milk, 1,135,319 kilograms of red meat, 3,604,149 kilograms of pork, 2,259,668 kilograms of chicken, 3,021,529 dozen of eggs, 18,121,193 kilograms of vegetables and 1,259,899 kilograms of fruit. DCS has adopted various orphanages, old age homes and schools, and continues to donate surplus products to disadvantaged communities.
Further, offenders have built, and renovated, several houses, and schools, in disadvantaged communities including tiling, re-roofing, installing built-in cupboards, painting and plastering, cutting grass and trees, clearing bush and cleaning yards. DCS also has production workshops, which operate as business units, including 10 wood workshops, 10 steel workshops, 19 textile workshops, a shoe factory, six bakeries and three sanitary towel units.
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