Seventy-eight senior citizens are currently incarcerated at the eight Namibia Correctional Service (NCS) facilities across the country.
NCS’s head of directorate for central staff, Sam Shaalulange, confirmed this. He said of the 78, two are females, while three are trial-awaiting inmates.
Two of those incarcerated are state president’s patients. According to Shaalulange, their ages range between 60-89 years and they constitute 2% of the total inmates’ population of 4 238 inmates across the country.
The oldest inmate is 89 years old, who was taken in at the age of 78. Earlier this month, another pensioner Jan Donald Bruwer (73) was sentenced to serve 14 years imprisonment for murdering his stepdaughter’s husband in Mariental seven years ago.
Shaalulange said currently, no inmate is eligible for release due to advance stage alone.
“However, elderly inmates are more likely to suffer from debilitating medical conditions which can be a motivating factor for releasing them on medical reasons,” he said. In addition, he said elderly inmates also benefit from the presidential pardon in comparison to younger convicts. Despite the infrastructural limitations at the facilities, he said pensioners are kept separate from the younger inmates due to their physical vulnerability and medical needs. Given their age, they are less likely to pose high security risk hence they are housed at lower security units.
“The medical needs of these offenders are dealt with at the facilities’ clinics or state hospitals. Those who require more medical care are accommodated at the correctional facilities’ clinics. They are considered vulnerable, thus their safety is considered when custodial placement is done,” he said.
In terms of rehabilitation, he said given the population of the inmates, NCS does not have activities specifically designed for ageing inmates as a critical need at this point. They are, however, involved in activities such as religious care, physical exercise, indoor sport games, art and craft. In general, offenders in correctional facilities regardless of their age have access to participate in various rehabilitation programmes and activities.