South Africa: Pretoria Boys Get a Glimpse of Life Behind Bars

The Department of Correctional Services have introduced a new programme allowing young people to visit their Correctional Centres to experience life behind bars.

This, according to the department, is done in the hope that it will become a deterrent in following a life of crime.

On Tuesday, a group of 15 troublesome boys from Pretoria schools and crisis centres received first-hand experience of what it is like to be a prisoner after spending a day at the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre.

The Correctional Services Department partnered with the Siyathuthikisa Bonke Crisis Centre in Atteridgeville in a bid to prevent crime.

The boys aged between 13 and 18 swapped their school uniforms for orange overalls and partook in activities offenders do daily. This included working the fields and spending time in single cells.

The parents of the boys consented to this unusual method of discipline.

Gauteng Regional Commissioner Grace Molatedi told SAnews that is the first time hosting young people at a Correctional Centre to see how life is behind bars.

According to Commissioner Molatedi, they used to host schools but now they host young people that are problematic in communities.

"We have noticed that most young people are using drugs and that influences them to commit crimes and end up in jail. We thought introducing the programme to expose them to the life behind bars as a way of showing them how it is to be behind bars," Molatedi said.

Those that are interested are advised to send a request to a nearby Correctional Centre and state when they would like to come.

"We welcome the youth from schools and those who are at the crisis centres," Molatedi said.

According to the Department of Correctional Services, it is important that the youth know about what is happening inside the Correctional facilities as this might deter them from committing crimes or from criminal activities.

Molatedi explained that the programme is for the youth who wants to experience or to know about the life in a Correctional facility.

Once permission is granted, the parents are contacted for their approval and the youth are called and stay in a cell, work in the fields and they get the real feel of prison life.

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