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"From Incarceration to Reintegration"

Workshop at Kalahari Sands Hotel, Windhoek

On 17 and 18 November 2014 the office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Namibia and Angola together with the Legal Assistance Center organized a two-day workshop with the topic „From Incarceration to Reintegration“ in the Kalahari Sands Hotel in Windhoek.

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Workshop participants and und Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Head of the KAS office in Namibia and Angola (9th from the right)

In addition to the German experts Torben Adams and Dr Stefan von der Beck the workshop was attended by about 35 representatives from the local justice, lawyers, prison regime and non-governmental organizations. Furthermore, the Namibian Ombudsman and a former criminal prisoner were among the participants.

After Dr Althusmann and Toni Hancox, the Director of the Legal Assistance Center, had welcomed the participants and opened the workshop, Torben Adams started his presentation. He explicated the German Prison Act (StVollzG) in Theory and Practice. He explained the impact of incarceration and re-entry on children, families and communties and defined the psychological impact of incarceration.

After a short tea break Dr Stefan von der Beck exemplified based in his presentation the legal framework of probation and Post Care for ex-prisoners in Germany. Referring to the relevant German and European regulations, he called the legal conditions for a release on license or a residual parole. Using the example of the “Ambulanter Justizsozialdienst Niedersachsen” (outpatient Justice Social Services Lower Saxony) he explained the structure and operation of modern outpatient Justice Social Services and he mentioned also the work of non-governmental organizations in the post care of ex-prisoners. The victim assistance and the protection of victims were also subjects in his lecture.

The presentations of both experts gave cause to excited debates and discussions among participants and experts, which were continued even during the breaks.

The afternoon started with the presentation by Dr Edwina Mensah-Husselmann. In the context of her lecture she gave an interesting view of a clinical psychologist in Namibia. Her presentation was followed by a discussion of the participants.

Afterwards Mike Kauazunda, who had served a long prison sentence in a Namibian prison, described his experiences during and after his incarceration. A second case study followed by Jean Chiketa from the organization of “Change”.

The first day of the workshop ended with a conclusion of all previous results, which followed especially out of the good discussions, comments and questions by the participants.

The second day of the workshop began with a presentation by Gail van Wyk. As the Directorate Rehabilitation and Reintegration she informed the participants about the newly developed but not yet implemented concept of the Namibian Correctional Services. She called, among other things, a relapse rate of offenders by only 6%. The participants made especially this short number as a subject of the further discussion; especially since so far none of the participants had been aware of the new concept.

Afterwards, the participants devoted the most pressing problems of reintegration. They gathered proposals for necessary measures to improve the well-being of former prisoners and their reintegration into society together. As one problem for example they named the high number of remand prisoners (10,000-12,000). In this context Dr von der Beck mentioned again the reasonable introduction of Social Justice Services which work in the outpatient sector.

Overall, the workshop provided the opportunity to present successful reintegration models and measures from abroad. In the group the participants discussed together which models and actions probably can be taken in Namibia to facilitate the reintegration into society.

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