• July 12th, 2020

Correctional facility soldiers on despite challenges

MILE 10 – The Elizabeth Nepemba Correctional Facility at Mile 10 village in Kavango West region is grappling with a serious shortage of staff. 

According to the organisational structure, the facility is supposed to have a staff composition of 483 workers. However, at the moment, the staff complement stands at 180, meaning the facility has a shortfall of 303 employees. “Despite being understaffed, we are managing. Yes, now there is a lot of work for an individual staff member, as they now have responsibilities that are supposed to be executed by more than two officers,” said the officer in charge of the facility, Assistant Commissioner Ester Joseph. 

She was speaking during the community advisory committee inaugural meeting held on Wednesday at the correctional facility. The committee was taken for orientation and an information workshop at the facility. The voluntary community advisory committee (CAC) consists of members of the public and was introduced by the need to improve efficiency and transparency in the administration of the correctional facility. 

The duties of the committee will be to inspect the facility, observe and compare policy and practice, as well as interview offenders to determine issues they may be facing. “Currently, we have 256 offenders in safe custody: 254 sentenced and two non-sentenced offenders,” the officer in charge said. 

Among the offenders are 221 Namibians and 33 foreign nationals, comprising 17 Angolan and 16 Zambians who are serving for various offences. The state facility also has challenges of transport in terms of security vans, stationery for offenders attending various programmes and teaching resources for educational activities. 

“There is a lack of medical equipment like blood pressure monitor, body-weight scales, diathermy machine for voluntary medical male circumcision procedures and a washing machine.” The facility is also in urgent need of computers and printers. 

Despite these challenges, the facility also has notable achievements. “Though more than half of the facility structure is still vacant, security incidents have been reduced drastically, compared to the last financial year 2018/19,” she said. 

“We have strengthened our relationship with the Rundu Intermediate State Hospital; as a result, decentralisation of an ART (antiretroviral treatment) site was done.” 

The test and treat strategy has also been introduced at the facility clinic. According to the officer in charge, 63 offenders completed structured and support rehabilitation programmes, while 42 offenders graduated in functional literacy level 1. Another eight officers and 13 offenders also completed the adult upper primary education programme. The facility succeeded in doing visits at schools and churches on information-sharing campaigns on alcohol and drug abuse, as well as educating the public on the causes of crime and prevention. 

The facility has also acquired a slot on a local radio station, with the hope of educating the community on the mandate of the Namibia Correctional Service and activities carried out at facilities. 
“A good working relationship for the enhancement of service delivery is upheld with stakeholders such as the ministry of health, Rundu Town Council, ministry of gender, Namibian police, Namibian Defence Force and traditional authorities, among others,” she said.
– jmuyamba@nepc.com.na 

John Muyamba
2020-02-28 07:09:54 | 4 months ago

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