27 Oct 2014 19:30pm
WINDHOEK, 27 OCT (NAMPA) - The rehabilitation of offenders is a complex matter which requires that national correctional policies are carefully planned and implemented to maximise their impact on society and the lives of imprisoned offenders.
This was the view of President Hifikepunye Pohamba, whose speech was read on his behalf by Prime Minister Hage Geingob at the opening of the 16th International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) Conference and Annual General Meeting which commenced in the capital on Monday.
Founded in 1998, the ICPA has a membership of over 80 countries.
The conference and AGM are taking place under the theme 'From incarceration to reintegration.'
Pohamba said continued co-operation involving the police forces, the judiciary and prisons and correctional services is therefore indispensable.
The Head of State advised that corrections officers need to possess other skills and competencies to handle traditional and emerging challenges in the correctional services environment.
He said the correctional services system in Namibia has embraced modern and evidence-based approaches in the management of the country's correctional institutions.
We will also continue to adhere to a management culture underpinned by the promotion of fundamental human rights as enshrined in Namibia's supreme law and international conventions and treaties that Namibia has ratified such as the 1957 United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the 1990 UN Standard Minimum Rules for Non-Custodial Measures (Tokyo Rules), he stressed.
Pohamba said a new strategic direction has also been adopted whereby offenders are given new hope and encouraged to adopt a lifestyle that will facilitate their reintegration into society as law-abiding and productive citizens.
The Head of State said the conference demonstrates the collective commitment of ICPA members to create better and more effective correctional services that comply with and adhere to international best practices.
He added that the experience and expertise shared during the conference will go a long way in finding effective solutions and modern approaches to the challenges faced by correctional services, and the broader criminal justice systems.
Pohamba called upon Namibia's correctional services managers, administrators and experts to use this platform to make recommendations that will enable governments to initiate and implement interventions and policies of dealing with offenders who have been committed to incarceration.
Established in 1998, the ICPA aims to consider and propose innovative ways of managing correctional systems, which include issues such as addressing the challenge of overcrowding of correctional facilities and the need to enable correctional and prisons services to carry out their mandates and effectively contribute to public safety as part of the criminal justice system.
Other areas include the imperative of strengthening and developing human resources in the criminal justice system to be able to deal effectively with offenders.
This is the second ICPA Annual Conference to be held in Africa, with the first one held in South Africa in 2000. This year's conference focuses on transformation from incarceration to reintegration.
The conference ends on Thursday.