WINDHOEK - The Windhoek Central Prison is home to a total number of 950 sentenced offenders in its facilities, while 113 offenders are awaiting trial.
About 110 of criminals are involved in different vocational training programmes. These figures were revealed by Windhoek Central Prison Deputy Commissioner Manfred Jatamunua during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) and the Namibian Correctional Service yesterday.
The MoU aims to formalise the longstanding ties of collaboration between the two institutions and will further solidify their work to establish a relevant technical and vocational training system in Namibia.
Namibian Correctional Service Commissioner-General Raphael Hamunyela, who signed the MoU with NTA CEO Jerry Beukes, said this partnership will address the vocational skills need that will increase offenders’ employability.
Hamunyela said the latest assessment conducted in June 2018 on inmates housed at this facility alone revealed that 44 percent of inmates had unemployment as one of the major criminogenic risk factors.
He noted it is for this reason that the Namibian Correctional Service values this partnership as it will drive the impartation of practical employment skills to inmates so that they become productive and self-supporting, which are of paramount importance to public safety.
The correctional service is mandated to provide safe, secure and humane custody to offenders, to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society as law abiding citizens.
Hence, Hamunyela emphasised the importance of the partnership, saying it is the answer to the said mandate.
In addition, he said in order to reduce barriers to employment and contribute to the objectives of the national plans, the Namibian Correctional Service has devised custom-base approaches to assist inmates to attain vocational skills to meet labour market requirements.
“Thus, it is our view that the impartation of technical and vocational skills will add value to the reduction of skill gaps being experienced in the labour markets. Our wish is for Namibian Correctional Service vocational training to contribute to the achievement of the all-inclusive government clarion call, through the National Planning Commission, which mandates all ministries to have a Human Resource Development Plan to decrease the current skill gaps,” the Commissioner alluded.
Currently, the Namibian Correctional Service industrial workshops offer training in technical and vocational trades such as welding and metal fabrication, joinery and cabinet making, fashion and fabrics, animal husbandry, crop production, auto and diesel mechanics, panel beating and spray painting, bricklaying and plastering, electrical general as well as fitter and turner.
As an effort towards formalising these trades and maximising the employability of offenders after their release, the Namibian Correctional Service intends to accredit these trades and to stick to national standards for industrial workshops.
“This is a long-awaited response to our current situation whereby offenders who complete the trainings are not issued with national certificates, a proof to the prospective employers when applying for employment, after release. Hence, NTA is a critical stakeholder in this regard,” Hamunyela noted.
Beukes on his part welcomed the partnership, saying the agreement anticipates the delivery of Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA)-accredited technical and vocational training qualifications at training facilities of the Namibian Correctional Service countrywide.
Beukes said it also requires NTA to render concomitant assessment and certification services at such training facilities, while the two parities also commit themselves towards fast tracking and expediting the process of formalising all correctional services technical and vocational training programmes.
The MoU make provision of technical support towards the registration of correctional services training facilities among other provisions.