Warders uniform a disgrace, substandard
Officers at His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) want durable uniforms than the shame disguised as uniform distributed by the department to staff.
The officers demand for the reengagement of the department’s previous uniform suppliers, who were later abandoned, as they are tired of being a shame with the very poor quality and substandard uniform they are made to wear while in the line of duty. The officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the quality of the current uniform is despicable, stating that some security guard companies have better and good quality uniforms than the one that has been given to them. The officers alleged that the uniforms given to them department are a disgrace compared to other security forces in the land. The officers alleged that whilst the uniform is a shame the leadership is benefiting from the poor quality and its substandard nature.
The officers disclosed that while it was a good idea to have the uniform produced internally, the results have proven that poor quality apparel material has been used and the production is poorly executed.
The officers disclosed that they can support the idea of procuring the uniform internally if the quality is good and the right standards for quality assessment in any production were followed, which is not the case.
The officers disclosed that previous uniforms, which were produced by the abandoned suppliers, were of high quality and were able to sustain officers for years without requesting new uniforms.
Production workshops and agricultural activities promoting the transfer of skills by complementing other skills development rehabilitation programmes to improve inmates’ social and personal functioning has seen the leadership deciding to produce uniforms for officers as well.
The officers complained that while those strategies are great, correctional officers should not be subjected to experimentation with their uniform, which is part of their requirement. The officers further confided that for quality uniform the facilities need to attain certain standards just like all production or manufacturing institution.
While the officers agree that the department covers critical areas in delivering rehabilitation and reintegration programmes and services to inmates in Eswatini’s Correctional Facilities, which includes the production of such garments. Some officers demand for the department to limit such production to offenders’ uniforms not their essential uniform as officers of the crown.
“The correctional department is not faced with any obstacles for this programme with readily available partnerships to aid rehabilitation efforts, but the dirty hands of leadership is tainting the department in trying to experiment with poor quality uniforms to get control of funds,” adds one of the officers.
However, the officers praised the blue print for the correction service department stating that as officers they are following it with no regrets in the streamlining focus on equipping inmates with artisanal skills and education, rather than on the more therapeutic programmes of the past.
They said there is more the department needs to deal with such as the employability of former inmates and other persons with criminal records.
The officer said the number of returning detainees is very alarming, which needs more strategic focus to reduce the traffic back to the correctional facilities.
The officer decried the lack of focus on the leadership at the helm of the department, stating that there is a need to tap into the resources available to the department efficiently and work on best strategies on restorative justice processes currently undertaken.
The officers said it is not possible with the current tainted leadership they currently have and disclosed that the old leadership must be removed and new leadership with a clear visionbe brought in. Officers said it can be better to have leadership not on contract as they often think of the personal benefit because they know they are no longer employable after the contract which is why they are corrupt and clang into the contracts for ever.