WINDHOEK - First Lady Monica Geingos says society must understand the relationship of landlessness, farmworkers and their children and why many end up in correctional facilities.
Geingos said if one is looking for marginalized, they must look in the correctional facilities.
She said if one comes to the correctional facilities, they will understand the challenges of the poor, uneducated and the oppressed.
“Why is this disproportionate? It has a lot to do with being marginalized. It has to do with being landless because land is a safety net. If you are looking for the landless, you will find them here. Farmworkers, children of farm workers. The statistics in these facilities are important determinant of the kind of interventions we must have,” stated Geingos when she inaugurated the female centre at the Windhoek facility on Wednesday.
“If you want to take a honest look at yourself as a nation, you must look inside your correctional services because if you analyse very carefully who is in your correctional facilities and why they are there, you will understand a lot of societal issues that are happening,” she added.
There are 89 female offenders currently at the facility. The previous facility which housed the female offenders in Windhoek was turned into a programme area during 2009 and the women offenders were transferred to Walvis Bay and Oluno. They were transfered back to Windhoek after the construction of the new facility this past Saturday. Female offenders also got new uniforms, grey dress with a pink waist tie.
Geingos further stated many women incarcerated for murder have been physically, emotionally and financially abused for a long time before they commit crimes.
“But the minutes they commit these crimes, there is never cases or proof that they have been abused and this cannot even be used in mitigation. This is the challenge when women don’t report cases,” said Geingos. The First Lady added that inner focus group done in 2016 indicated 58 percent of female inmates revealed that employment and financial challenges were a contribution factor to their incarceration.
“So issues around employment and poverty are real issues and one thing I noticed when I was going through statistics, high proportionate of females under 30, of course there are issues of infanticide, murder and concealment of birth but there is a high rate of violent crime under the age of 30 and economic crime and it also has a lot to do with social economic activities,” she said.
On infanticide, Geingos asked what is the point of data if it is not used to inform policies.
“All these cases I have seen, there has been high feelings of rejection from these pregnant women.”
She said these women face social economic problems.
“We must ask about their access to sexual health, reproductive health and rights. We must ask ourselves about family planning, even if it is a wrong question, we must ask ourselves about abortion. If the answer is ‘no’ then, it is a ‘no’. If the answer is a yes then let it be a ‘yes’ but at least ask the question because statistics are telling us there is a problem.”
2019-06-14 08:57:25 3 months ago