Geingos commends community-based service orders

13 Jun 2019 08:50am
WINDHOEK, 13 JUN (NAMPA) – First Lady, Monica Geingos, on Wednesday commended the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) for promoting community-based service orders as an alternative to imprisonment here.

A community-based order is a court order which allows offenders, under the supervision of a probation officer, to participate in possibly unpaid community work programs, treatment or training. This is also offered by the NCS.

Speaking at the inauguration of the refurbished Female Correctional Centre at the Windhoek Correctional Facility (WCF), Geingos advised that some of the community service orders be evolved to tackle some of the social issues that are on the rise, rather than imprisoning people.

She used the example of a female inmate she met while on a tour at the Swakopmund Correctional Facility, where she observed that the inmate was sentenced to 12 months for stealing deodorant or had to pay a fine of N.dollar 350, which she did not have.

“She was three months into her 12 months. I often pay these fines so that these women can be released and I incorporate them into our programmes,” Geingos said.

Speaking to the media, Hermina Bostander from Leonardville, who is incarcerated for two-months at the WCF with her nine-month-old baby, said she was sentenced to 12-months imprisonment with the option of paying N.dollars 2 000 for assault with intent to cause grievous body harm.

Bostander noted that at the time of her arrest, she was employed but could however not settle the fine and her family did not have the money for the fine either.

Geingos noted that based on what, they have learned from the women behind bars that it is important to report abuse as most of the women imprisoned have either been abused emotionally, physically or economically for a long time before they committed the crimes they were imprisoned for.

“The minute they commit the crime, there is never ever any proof or evidence of this abuse so it can't even be used for mediation and there is a challenge when we don't report [abuse],” she stressed.

Geingos further urged that a constructive way of dealing with conflict be found, even when dealing with couples or children.