Report of the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services on Budget Vote 20: Correctional Services, dated 23 March 2010
The Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services, having considered the budget of the Department of Correctional Services, Vote 20: Correctional Services, reports as follows:
1.1 In its consideration of the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) budget the Committee received written and oral submissions during stakeholder hearings (10 March 2010) and a briefing by the DCS on its budget and strategic plan (17 March 2010).
1.2 The Committee invited comment on the DCS’ 2009/10 budget from the Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services (JICS), labour unions, non-governmental organisations and research institutions. The following stakeholders responded to the Committee’s invitation: the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI), the Public Service Association (PSA), the Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (POPCRU), as well as the JICS. Young in Prison (YiP) and POPCRU made written submissions. A company, Drake and Scull FM requested permission to participate and presented their ideas on how overcrowding can be overcome.
1.3 The DCS officials who appeared before the Committee included: Ms J Schreiner (Acting National Commissioner), Mr T Motseki (Chief Deputy Commissioner: Corrections), Ms S Moodley (Chief Deputy Commissioner: Development and Care), Mr M Wolela (Acting Chief Deputy Commissioner: Central Services), Ms N Mareka (Acting Chief Financial Officer), Mr A Tsetsane (Chief Deputy Commissioner: Corporate Services) and Dr J Coetzee (Deputy Commissioner: Operations).
1.4 This report comprises a programme by programme summary of the DCS’ budget and strategic objectives, an overview of concerns raised by stakeholders and finally the Committee’s observations and recommendation.
1.5 The report should be read in the context of the time constraints imposed on the Committee and especially stakeholders by the parliamentary programme and the limited time available between the tabling of the DCS’ strategic plan and the Budget debate.
2. OVERVIEW OF THE DCS’ KEY PRIORITY STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS
2.1 The DCS’ core mandate is to contribute to maintaining and protecting a just, peaceful and safe society by enforcing court decisions and sentences in line with relevant legislation, by detaining all inmates in safe custody while ensuring their human dignity, and by promoting the rehabilitation, social responsibility and human development of all offenders.
2.2 According to its strategic plan the DCS is committed to putting rehabilitation at the centre of all its activities through:
- the integrated application and direction of resources to the correction of offending behaviour, and the promotion of social responsibility;
- the provision of cost-effective correctional facilities that will promote efficient security, corrections, care and development services; and
- progressive and ethical management and staff practices within which every correctional official performs an effective correcting and supportive role.
2.3 The DCS will pursue the following 5 priorities over the medium term:
- an intensified fight against crime and corruption through improved security hopefully resulting in a decrease in escapes, assaults and unnatural deaths;
- entrenching corrections as a societal responsibility through, amongst others, facilitating structured stakeholder participation, the establishment of community safety fora, contributing to the development of the national policy framework for community safety, the promotion of the care and development of offenders in order to facilitate reintegration and decrease recidivism;
- improved service delivery at correctional centre level through the development of correctional sentence plans and the establishment of remand detention facilities;
- building internal capacity for improved centre level service delivery; and
- aligning the Correctional Services Legislation with the 2005 White Paper on Corrections
3. OVERVIEW OF THE 2010/11 BUDGET
3.1 The DCS received R15 129,1 billion in the 2010/11 financial year i.e. 3,8 % of the total national budget and 14 % of the allocation to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster which received 23,6% (R108 781 billion) of the national budget. The DCS’ budget thus reflects a R1,3 billion nominal increase which translates to a real increase of only R344.5 million.
3.2 The DCS’
allocation is expected to reach R18,3 billion in the 2012/13 financial year
i.e. an annual increase of 9,7 % due largely to an additional allocation over
the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period for the Occupational
Specific Dispensation (OSD) for correctional officials (R300 million per year)
and the adjustment to compensation of employees (R583,1 million in 2010/11;
R619,4 million in 2011/12 and R652,8 million in 2012/13). The allocation of
additional funds for the construction of four new public private partnership (PPP)
correctional facilities in Paarl,
3.3 As was the case in 2009/10, the Administration and Security programmes receive the largest allocation of the budget - 26.3% and 34% respectively. Furthermore 70% (R10 483 billion) of the total budget allocation will go towards the compensation of employees which, until 2012.13 is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 7.6%.
3.4 Together receiving only 7,3% of the total budget, the Development and Social Reintegration programmes have the lowest allocation. In addition the Care programme shows a 5% decrease (R80,1 million in real terms).
4. OVERVIEW OF ALLOCATION ACROSS PROGRAMMES
4.1 The Administration programme provides the administrative, management, financial, information communication and technology, research, policy co-ordination and good governance support functions necessary for service delivery, good governance and accountability to oversight institutions. As in 2009/10 the programme has received the second largest allocation. The 14,66% increase in the allocation in the current financial year, and the increases in recent years are due mainly to the DCS’ use of consultants for the provision of computerised systems, maintenance of information systems and for payment of legal, as well as internal and external audit services. As stated above, in the medium term growth in expenditure will be mainly for the implementation of the OSD, inflation-related salary adjustments and allocations for the Master Information System.
4.2 The Security programme aims to provide safe and healthy conditions that are consistent with human dignity for all inmates, thereby supporting security for both personnel and the public. It remains the programme receiving the highest allocation - in 2010/11 34% of the total budget. It reflects a nominal increase of 3.66 % i.e. just over R5,1 billion but in real terms that translates to a R141, 3 million (2,85%) decrease. The activities of this programme are labour intensive and employee compensation accounts for 98%of the programme’s budget.
4.3 The Corrections programme provides needs-based correctional sentence plans and interventions based on an assessment of an inmate’s security and criminal profile. It targets all elements associated with offending behaviour, and focuses on the offence for which a person is sentenced to correctional supervision, remanded in a correctional centre, or paroled. The programme receives only 10,5% of the total budget and reflects a 27,38% increase and a real increase of only R240 million. 99,3% of the allocation to this programme will go towards employee compensation. Increases in expenditure are ascribed to the implementation of the OSD and Seven-Day Establishment (7DE) and inflation related salary adjustments.
4.4 The Care programme provides for needs-based programmes and services aimed at maintaining the personal wellbeing of incarcerated offenders by facilitating physical fitness, social functioning, health care, and spiritual, moral and psychological wellbeing. The allocation to this programme shows a 5,06% decrease from the previous year and receives only R1, 504 billion, 47% of which will go towards employee compensation. The increase in expenditure on this programme over the MTEF is mainly due to additional remuneration for health care workers in line with the OSD and inflation related salary adjustments.
4.5 The Development programme focuses on the personal development of offenders through the provision of programmes and services aimed at both skills and social development, including technical training, recreation, sports, education and the operation of prison farms and production workshops. The programme receives only 3,5% of the total budget i.e. R526 million, 78% of which goes towards employee compensation, and growth in expenditure over the MTEF period is largely due to the implementation of the 7DE and the OSD.
4.6 The Social Reintegration programme provides services focused on offenders’ preparation for release, their effective supervision after being paroled, and on facilitating their social reintegration. Although the programme reflects a 21,7% increase, it receives only 3,8% of the total budget i.e. R574,7 million. 96.6% of that allocation goes towards employee compensation.
programme provides physical infrastructure that supports safe and secure
custody, humane conditions, and corrective services, care, development and
general administration. This programme has been allocated R1,813 billion reflecting
a 9,33% increase accounting for 12 % of the total budget. The allocation of
additional funds for the construction of four new (PPP) correctional facilities
5. OVERVIEW OF STAKEHOLDER INPUT
The following concerns and observations were made by stakeholders and do not necessarily reflect the Committee’s opinion.
5.1 The DCS’ budget debate has been scheduled to take place three weeks after the required tabling of departmental strategic plans and almost all stakeholders were dissatisfied by the severe time constraints this scheduling placed on them. The Budget and strategic plan need to be read together in order to do a thorough analysis, and the late tabling combined with the fact that the strategic plan was only accessible on CD Rom, placed constraints on stakeholders’ ability to prepare for the Committee’s stakeholder hearings. It was argued that the late tabling hampered public participation and the value such participation had for the Committee.
5.2 The continued escalation in the cost of maintaining the correctional system, and its long term sustainability remains a concern. 2009/10 saw the DCS for the first time having to implement cost saving measures taking the form of the moratorium on the appointment of staff, and the severe cutting of its operational budget. It is believed that more such “belt-tightening” measures will be necessary in the future and care should be taken that such measures did not prejudice inmates only: in 2009/10 some rehabilitation and recreational programmes have had to be suspended and dissatisfaction and resistance had been observed among inmates.
5.3 It was also noted that the DCS had for the sixth consecutive year received a qualified audit report, has had an acting chief financial officer for longer than 1 year and an acting national commissioner for almost one year. Such instability resulted in poor performance and this damaged the DCS’ image and public confidence in its ability to deliver on its objectives.
5.4 The unions reported that the DCS faced serious challenges as far as communication, as well as discipline at senior management level, Regions did not adhere to, and sometimes blatantly ignored directives. These management challenges had a demoralising effect on staff.
5.5 Stakeholders agreed that the persistent allegations of corruption levelled against DCS officials at all levels had to be addressed urgently, and their impact could not be ignored when assessing the budget. Such allegations did not inspire taxpayers’ trust that taxes were being spent appropriately, and in ways that are in the best interest of offenders and ultimately the communities to whom ex-offenders return once their sentences have been served.
5.6 Stakeholders were concerned about the continued lack of synergy between objectives contained in the White Paper on Corrections and the DCS’ budget allocation across programmes. While the DCS claims to put rehabilitation at the centre of its activities, the budget remains skewed towards security and administration, while very little is spent on the corrections, social reintegration, care and development programmes. These four programmes are integral to addressing offending behaviour and facilitating reintegration and thus reducing the risk of re-offence.
5.7 The DCS’
success is measured against how many offenders re-offend upon release, and how
successfully they can be reintegrated. It is speculated that
5.8 While spending on security remains high, the projected outcomes are extremely low e.g. R52,1 million will be paid to a service provider for the maintenance and staffing of security rooms and the maintenance of security access control systems and security fences, yet the DCS hopes to reduce escapes from 4 to 1 per 10 000 inmates only. It was argued that less should be spent on projects that are high in cost and had limited outcomes. Since 2005 billions of rands have been spent on security with little affect; a low cost investment in social security would have had a much higher impact.
5.9 A 2007/08 JICS infrastructure audit found that, amongst others, a number of prisons were not issued with cutlery, had insufficient beds, no private search areas, no isolation wards/cells for inmates with contagious diseases, no technical workshops and no libraries. The lack of such facilities impacted negatively on the minimum standards of humane detention, as well as on inmates’ access to activities that could aid their rehabilitation.
5.10 In 2009/10 the DCS incurred liabilities of more than R988 million as a result of “bodily injury/assault. This is unacceptable given that one of its core objectives is the safe (i.e. humane) custody of individuals entrusted to their care. The high incidence of unnatural deaths also indicate that despite the monies spent on security, correctional centres are often very unsafe for offenders.
5.11 While most stakeholders agreed that while private sector involvement may be valuable, even unavoidable when it came to specialised skills, they remained concerned about the extent to which the DCS outsourced functions that are core to its mandate, and for which it employs staff.
5.12 Concerns were raised that despite the large amounts of money spent on new facilities, the DCS claims not to have the infrastructure to support fulltime tuition in line with the 2006 DCS of Education national curriculum statement. At less than 3 000 targeted for the financial year, participation in literacy programmes remains very low,
5.13 The development activities inmates take part in, are informed by their sentence plans and the fact that only 8 400 i.e. 8% of offenders will be targeted for sentence plans is a matter of grave concern.. The DCS indicates that 48 186 offenders will be participating in development activities, and it is not clear how that will be possible given that only 8 400 are targeted for sentence planning.
5.14 Overcrowding remains a major concern and stakeholders are adamant that building more correctional centres is not the appropriate solution. A number of measures including sentence reform and increased use of non-custodial sentencing, appropriate and affordable bail, effective utilisation of plea and sentence arrangements, and the utilisation of the relevant Criminal Procedure Act provisions, would offer much more cost-effective and immediate relief.
5.15 Awaiting-trial detainees (ATDs) contribute greatly to overcrowding. While stakeholders welcomed the remand detention legislation that is underway, they were concerned that developing and processing legislation is time consuming and costly, and that in the meantime pressures associated with the DCS’ detention of unsentenced offenders will remain. There are more cost-effective and less time-consuming ways of addressing the challenge e.g. revising the policy on the space allocated for beds, and increasing the expenditure on programmes that kept offenders occupied during the day and thus out of the cells would address overcrowding and recidivism.
5.16 The 7DE which effectively reduced on-duty staff by 50% had been implemented in the absence of a comprehensive implementation framework and supporting policies. Lack of planning and adequate preparation prior to implementation had resulted in a radical reduction in staff per shift, increasing the risk to warders’ safety and jeopardising discipline within centres particularly over weekends and public holidays.
5.17 Partnerships with non-governmental organisations could assist greatly as far as the delivery of development and rehabilitation programmes as well as post-release programmes, yet the DCS does very little to encourage such partnerships. While there is a guideline for such partnerships and a service level agreement with local government and other stakeholders has been signed for post-release support programmes, the strategic plan is silent on these initiatives. Mention is made of increased probation officer and parole officers, indicating that rather than more post-release support there would be increased policing of parolees and probationers. Rehabilitation and social reintegration efforts are a shared responsibility. The offender reintegration sector is fragmented and there is a need for more dialogue between government and non-governmental role players. Successful reintegration efforts can be negatively affected where there is no continuity between in-prison and out–of prison programmes, services and interventions.
5.18 All stakeholders agreed that the DCS has shown little, if any growth and improvement. Many of the challenges that had been raised were raised in earlier years as well, but there has been no improvement or any effort by the DCS to take suggestions on board.
6. COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS/COMMENTS
6.1.1 The DCS’ attempts at realising the rehabilitation and reintegration objectives contained in the White Paper are undermined by its continued administrative challenges. Leadership instability, lack of discipline and corruption seriously impede delivery and need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
6.1.2 In its report on the DCS’ 2009/10 strategic plan and budget the Committee had reported that the high expenditure on consultants and outsourced services was a cause for serious concern. That concern remains and the Committee is unconvinced that real efforts have been made to increase the DCS’ self-sufficiency and reduce reliance on consultants particularly in areas that are core to the DCS’ mandate.
6.2.1 Overcrowding places enormous strain on, amongst others, prison infrastructure. While some prisons are grossly overcrowded, others are under- or inappropriately utilised. While it agrees that the 5 new correctional centres that have been in the pipeline for a very long time should be completed as soon as possible, the Committee cautions that solely building more correctional centres will not address overcrowding.
6.2.2 Though the Committee is aware that 10 correctional centres have been earmarked for refurbishment for utilisation as remand detention centres, little has been reported on the progress in that regard.
6.2.3 The DCS has repeatedly complained of the difficulties it experienced in its relationship with the Department of Public Works saying that ideally it should be solely responsible for all its maintenance needs. That the service level agreement between the two departments the concerns raised notwithstanding, not been finalised is matter of concern.
6.3.1 Overcrowding impedes service delivery to offenders, and makes humane conditions of incarceration nearly impossible. Given that unsentenced offenders, many of whom are in prison simply because they cannot afford bail are the main contributors to overcrowding, increased cooperation within the JCPS cluster is vital to ensure increased use of non-custodial sentencing, the bail protocol and the relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act. Awareness must be raised among cluster members of the far-reaching implications, budgetary and otherwise, associated with overcrowding.
6.4 Care, Development and Corrections
6.4.1 The Committee remains deeply concerned about the miniscule allocations to the care, development and reintegration programmes. It acknowledges that given the high level of overcrowding such programmes, even if adequately funded, would be an enormous challenge to run. The minimal increases to the programmes are unacceptable and contradict the DCS’ key rehabilitation and reintegration objectives. While the Committee acknowledges that the DCS’ shortage of skilled professionals such as teachers, and infrastructural challenges do not always make delivery on such services possible, it must emphasise that there should be greater synergy between the DCS’ strategic objectives, and how it funds its programmes. Greater utilisation of NGOs should be encouraged and service level agreements that will regulate such cooperation must be prioritised.
6.4.2 The DCS must be uncompromising in its pursuit of ways in which to ensure that all offenders, particularly those serving sentences of two years or longer, have sentence plans developed soon after their incarceration. Without a sentence plan and offender’s rehabilitation cannot be mapped and he or she cannot access the most appropriate programmes to address their offending behaviour.
6.4.3 In 2009 the Committee had reported that it was hopeful that the portfolio management strategy introduced earlier that year would assist in monitoring and improving service delivery across all programmes, but in particular across those that have the potential to reduce recidivism. Given that the budget remains skewed towards security and administration, and that care, corrections and development and reintegration are still not prioritised, it is clear that such improvement did not happen.
6.4.4 The Committee is pleased that the medical parole review process is underway and nearing finalisation and hopes that it will result in a system that is more effective, less open to manipulation, and inclusive of seriously ill inmates. Health care services to sick inmates remain inadequate and more should be done to ensure that basic health care needs are met.
6.4.5 The Care budget shows a decrease and the Committee is very concerned that as the number of ill inmates, particularly those that are HIV positive are not likely to decrease, the DCS will be compromising on health care. Although the Committee was assured that service delivery would remain at current levels, convincing arguments for how that would be done despite the reduction in the allocation could not be provided.
6.5 Social Reintegration
6.5.1 As is the case with the care and development programmes, the social reintegration programme is grossly under-funded. Many ex-offenders are rejected by their communities upon their release, and struggle to find employment. Corrections is a societal responsibility and all sectors must play their role in ensuring that ex-offenders are successfully reintegrated. Much has to be done to combat the stigma attached to having been incarcerated and to promote restorative justice, and allocations should be aligned to this core objective. Failure to successfully reintegrate, often results in a return to crime.
6.5.2 The Committee, recognising the role that the NGO-sector could play as far as reintegration programmes are concerned, would like to see more support given to the sector, so that their programmes can reach more inmates and released offenders.
6.6 Prison labour
6.6.1 The Committee acknowledges the potential security risk when inmates are engaged in work activities, but remains convinced that with adequate management, prison labour can assist in making the DCS more self-sufficient, cutting on some of the costs, particularly in those areas that are currently being outsourced. Prison farms, factories and workshops should be utilised fully. The skills and work ethic developed through work programmes will also aid the rehabilitation and reintegration process.
6.7.1 In line with the DCS’ rehabilitation and restorative justice objectives, alternative sentencing and diversion should be more rigorously marketed to magistrates. That having been said, the Committee acknowledges that unless magistrates are confident in the DCS’ ability to adequately manage those on alternative sentences, such sentencing will remain the exception rather than the rule.
7.1 The Committee realises that the 2005 White Paper is to be implemented over a 15 year period, and does not expect radical improvements to occur overnight. However the fact that there appears to be little or no improvement in the DCS’ performance, and even more disturbing, little if any commitment to such improvements, is a matter of grave concern.
7.2 In 2009 the Committee had reported that it was extremely concerned that despite the rehabilitation and social reintegration objectives contained in the White Paper on Corrections, and echoed in the DCS’ core mandate, Development, Care and Social Reintegration programmes remain under-funded. The Committee had then recommended that the budget be supported and undertook that it would interact with the DCS to monitor whether there is synergy between strategic objectives and budget allocation. The 2010/11 budget does not reflect such synergy, and thus it is difficult to believe the DCS’ claim that it is placing rehabilitation at the centre of its activities.
7.3 It is a matter of serious concern that programmes that are responsible for the welfare and rehabilitation of offenders always receive the smallest share of the DCS’ budget. It thus remains to be seen whether, without sufficient budget having been allocated to these programmes, the DCS will achieve Government’s objective of reducing serious and violent crime through rehabilitating inmates and equipping them with skills to be used after release in order to reduce the recidivist rate. This would ultimately contribute to ensuring that all South Africans are and feel safe.
7.4 The high rate of repeat-offending is indicative of the DCS’ limited success in the area of social reintegration. If a significant improvement is to be made, a radical shift in the budget allocation to this programme would have to be made. In order to meet its rehabilitation and reintegration targets, the Department ought to reconsider and increase its targets for developmental interventions, and then make the requisite re-allocations to the Care, Development and Corrections programmes.
7.5 The Committee recommends that the DCS’ 2010/11 budget be approved. Given the serious concerns raised above it will intensify its oversight and monitoring of whether the necessary improvements are made to ensure greater compliance with the White Paper on Corrections and its rehabilitation and reintegration objectives.
The Committee thanks all those who appeared before it for their input and cooperation, and looks forward to fruitful interactions with all stakeholders as it performs its oversight of the DCS.
Report to be considered.