An investigation of the effectiveness of correctional centre-based vocational training programmes towards reducing recidivism; a case study of Middledrift correctional centre, Eastern Cape

Miss Nosipho Mangesi1
1Crimsa, Mthatha, South Africa

Research towards rehabilitation programmes was necessitated by the extant of recidivism in South Africa and to close the gap on what actually works in reducing recidivism through rehabilitation programmes. The question is where the problem lies because offenders are rehabilitated and hoped to reintegrate well into the community up on release. This is attributed to inadequate rehabilitation.

The study used qualitative design in data collection and in explaining the results. A sample of sixteen recidivists and five correctional officials formed participants for the study selecting using purposive sampling procedures. Two data gathering method were used; in-depth interviews and focus group interview. The study examined the impact of vocational programmes on recidivism followed by factors that hinder effective offender rehabilitation and factors influencing recidivism up on release.

The findings of this study were analysed using thematic analysis with the assistance of a voice recorder as a backup for collected data. Findings revealed that a small number of recidivists attend vocational training programmes and these programmes are short in the centre together with programme facilitators at the time of reporting. Participants stated that vocational training reduces recidivism as it provide skills and employment opportunities indicated as major factors influencing recidivism. Findings also revealed that periodic re-assessment is not adequately conducted due to overcrowding and classification for vocational training is not likely to be sufficiently done according to offender risk/needs. The study recommends that, many recidivists be provided with vocational training programmes and that offender classification incorporates the principles of RNR model.


Second year master student in Criminology at the University of Fort Hare.

My dissertation focuses on understanding the impact/effectiveness of correctional based vocational programmes on reducing recidivism and factors that influence recidivism. The research has identified a key factor responsible for recidivism after release. I hope to suggest means to reduce recidivism. Last year I was a tutor at the Criminology department and being trained in some lecturing tasks and I am a member of CRIMSA. I hope to be involved in offender profiling and periodic re-assessment.

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