Dr Lincoln Fitz1
1University Of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Security threats such as assaults, gangsterism, and misconduct remain one of the biggest challenges correctional centres facing today. Extensive literature in the field of criminology and psychology have identified various risk factors that are associated with violence, gangsterism and misconduct in correctional centres but what is done to mitigate these risks. This article investigates the different strategies used by corrections departments to proactively deals with security threats in correctional centres in three correctional centres in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
The data informing the article consists of primary data (observations and semi-structured questionnaires) and secondary data (source documents) from 151 inmates. The multivariate analysis highlighted three critical areas that significantly contributed to security incidents in correctional centres. Most of the security incidents that happened at correctional centres are not formally reported or recorded at correctional centres. Reported incidents are only kept for record purpose, and nothing is done to analyse the circumstances around the incidents. Lastly, corrections managers do not use historical information to prevent reoccurrences of incidents.
In an attempt to address these shortcomings, this article has developed three prevention models that can proactively mitigate security threats in correctional centres. Firstly, the Situational Risk Prevention model (SRP) that can assist the correctional centre to analysis individual security threats based on routine activities in correctional centres and the rational choice of inmates to engage in such incidents. Secondly, an Incident Pattern Concept (IPC) that can assist correctional managers in analysing security threats over a period of time that can proactively mitigate risks. Lastly, Inmate Protective Forums (IPF) which provide inmates with the opportunity to be responsible for their safety in correctional centres. Operationalisation and implementation strategies are further discussed.
Dr Lincoln Fitz is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Corrections at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Prior to joining UNISA, he worked at the University of Fort Hare as a Lecturer and Department of Correctional Service as an Assistant Director. His academic career commenced during his time at Correctional Service where he was engaged in developing several in-service training manuals and conducting of research projects. During the period at Correctional Service, he was responsible for the compilation of numerous research/ technical reports and held various strategic positions such as Head Correctional Centre, Manager Corrections, Manager Security, and Parole Boards secretary at Corrections. He also served on several stakeholder engagement programmes before joining the academia. He also published and presented several research articles at different conferences. His research focuses on profiling and assessment of inmates, specifically related to gangsterism, deviant and delinquent behaviour. He further also a junior editor of the academic journal Acta Criminologica.