This is according to the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro) operations director Betzi Pierce.
Her comments come in the wake of a 28-year-old convicted thief, currently serving a suspended sentence, who was arrested in Kraaifontein on Tuesday in connection with a hijacking.
Police spokesperson Siyabulele Malo said: “On further investigation it was established that the suspect had been linked to 26 previous hijacking cases. The suspect was also convicted in December 2019 on two counts of robbery and sentenced to three years of correctional supervision.”
Pierce emphasised the problem is that once offenders are released, there is minimal support for them.
“In the Western Cape we are not doing any offender reintegration on any measurable scale because we don't have the funds. We have a small project of offender integration and, even if it had an impact on those few people, it’s got no real impact on the province.
“Another problem is that gangsters come to prison and start reaching out to prisoners about to be released. They even give them clothes so once these prisoners are released, these gangsters are there for them as a support system. Some try to stay out of trouble but when they can't find jobs, they get sucked into crime to survive until they are rearrested,” she added.
Another counsellor working with offenders, Donne Williams, highlighted that there was a lot of marginalisation and stigma related to those arrested and convicted of a crime.
“Before employment was hard, now it is even harder. There is a sense of hopelessness,” Williams explains.