• September 28th, 2020

Gobabis correctional facility hosts SPDs’ family day

Hileni Mwandingi

GOBABIS - The Gobabis correctional facility last Friday celebrated the State President Decision patients’ family open day at an event held in Gobabis. 

Being one of the only three special facilities designated for the custody of State President’s Decision patients (SPDs) in the country, the Gobabis correctional facility hosted an open family day to encourage families to visit their loved ones who are incarcerated at that facility. 

These are offenders who committed crimes yet could not be held accountable during court proceedings because of their mental state when they committed such crimes. 

Their discharge is only granted by the State President upon careful considerations and then recommendations from the institutions.

Speaking at the event, the officer in charge of the correctional facility, assistant Commissioner Saima Kamwangha said, they organized this day to reach out to many families and educate them on mental illnesses as well as for families to socialize and interact with one another. 

Kamwangha said lack of attention and interaction by family members has a negative impact on the mental wellbeing progress of the SPDs.

“After exploring common challenges faced by the SPDs during their detention, it came to our attention that, there is lack of regular visits by family members and lack of family support. Consequently, this has a negative impact on their discharge prospects since regular contact with family is regarded as an indicator for the possibility of successful re-integration back to the family and community,” she said.

Kamwangha said there is still much to be done in order to beat the stigma associated with mental illness. 
She thus called on everyone to familiarise themselves with mental health care and do away with discrimination, labelling attitudes, as well as stigmatizing people with mental illnesses. She also called on stakeholders to partake in assisting with the SPDs because government alone cannot manage. 

“I would like to invite stakeholders to come on board and assist the SPDs with any possible means because we have programmes planned for them but they are not implemented due to financial implications amongst other challenges,” stated Kamwangha.

Vincent Likoro, an SPD housed at the facility said because of lack of knowledge and stigma about mental illness, SPDs are mostly rejected by their families. 

“We realised that many families do not have knowledge about mental illness, as a result, the majority of us SPDs are being rejected by our families and left in the care of mental health staff. We understand and know the stigma that dear families do come upon because of us, thus we are called and labelled with different derogatory and defaming names. Please don’t give up on us.” 

He requested families to keep visiting them as this is important to their progress of getting well. 
He said they now know how to live with their conditions, and they are not as dangerous as portrayed out there.

The Gobabis correctional facility currently hosts 77 SPDs under its care from different parts of the country. The family day was also used as a graduation day, which saw some SPDs receiving certificates for having completed different courses offered at the facility. 

Education…The correctional officers of Gobabis correctional facility pictured with some of the SPDs that received their certificates on Friday during the family open day.

The voice…Vincent Likoro Kapumburu an SPD at Gobabis correctional facility, addressing those present during the family open day.

Overseeing…The officer in charge of Gobabis correctional facility, Assistant Commissioner Saima Kamwangha.

Staff Reporter
2019-11-04 07:19:28 | 10 months ago

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