The department also has agricultural productivity on 21 correctional centre farms and 96 smaller vegetable production sites, all spread over some 40 000 hectares of land.
The abattoir at Leeuwkop Correctional Facility in Johannesburg was recently declared the best in Gauteng. At the Boksburg Correctional Centre Bakery, 22 offenders produce 2 000 loaves of bread daily, which feed 5 000 offenders.
From April 2012 to March 2013, inmates at correctional centre farms and abattoirs produced more than 6.5m litres of milk, 551 000 kilograms of red meat and more than 1m kilograms of chicken.
The department says at least 95% of prisoners will return to society after serving their sentence.
“Offenders must return as better, changed and law-abiding citizens. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, and that’s why we’re turning our correctional centres into centres of learning. Offenders must read, study and work. The key to rehabilitation is empowering offenders to function effectively upon their release,” says Ndebele.
Equally important is to ensure that offenders are involved in productive activity while they serve their sentences, simply because prisoners spend so much time behind bars.