In Pollsmoor prison we are presently focusing on the Juvenile prison Medium A, the Maximum-security prison for men and the Female prison. The range of our activities includes visits to the communal cells for an average of 20 – 50 prisoners with a flexible program (individual and group meetings, evangelism, discipleship, individual prayer, relationship building) in both the awaiting-trial sections as well as with sentenced offenders. Participation in programs included dealing with the offenders personal past (“Renewal of the Mind“ / “Firm Family Foundation”, etc.) or Open-air services in the various exercise yards, each with 80-120 young prisoners. We focus particular on gangsters / gang members, especially members of the notorious prison gangs. In the Female prison, we are part of a weekly Bible study group, with on average about 40 – 60 female offenders attending.
At times we accompany selected offenders to their court trials, which often results in closer relationships with the offenders as well as at times their families or friends who we meet at court.
Out of 1-on-1 talks and court accompaniments often flow opportunities for follow-up, where we visit released prisoners at their homes in various disadvantaged areas of the Cape Flats, for example, Hanover Park, Tafelsig or Eastridge. The aftercare includes home visitation, assistance in job seeking, encouragement and connecting with communities, family, etc.
However, aftercare also happens if selected prisoners are not released but instead sentenced and transferred. About every three months we try to do follow-up visits to Drakenstein prison near Paarl, about 85km from Cape Town and occasional preventive visits in youth detention centres such as Bosasa’s Horizon, for under-age offenders.