The Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) this week launched a community service order programme at Otjiwarongo, which will allow minor offenders to carry out unpaid work for the benefit of the community as an alternative to imprisonment.
Speaking at the official launch of the programme, NCS head of community service orders Deputy Commissioner Natacha Booysen urged the region to support and implement the programme to help the NCS achieve its objectives, including rehabilitating and reintegrating offenders into society.
“Incarceration should be reserved for serious offenders who pose a much greater risk to the peace and stability of our society,” Booysen said.
According to Booysen, offenders sentenced for minor crimes such as shoplifting, defamation of character and crimen injuria qualify for the programme.
“The decision to sentence an offender to community work is at the discretion of the magistrate,” she explained.
She further said the types of community work include cleaning of public places like schools, clinics, hospitals, police stations and magistrate’s offices.
Otjozondjupa governor Uerikua James welcomed the programme, saying the region will put the programme to good use to help rehabilitate and integrate offenders back into society.
“This exercise will also help us to cut prison costs and expenditures in the region. When we are able to save from the millions of dollars that government spends on prison expenditures, the salvaged money can be rolled out to other programs of national development,” the governor said.