Correctional Services facing critical staff shortages

WINDHOEK: The Ministry of Safety and Security faces a critical staff shortage of over 60 per cent due to a lack of funds.

This was said by the Minister of Safety and Security, Immanuel Ngatjizeko during the introduction of his ministry’s N.dollars 800 million budget allocation for the 2014/15 financial year in the National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday.

The ministry plans to allocate N.dollars 641 million for its operational budget, and N.dollars 160 million for its development budget.

Ngatjizeko explained that the Namibia Correctional Services (NCS) is currently utilising the services of public hospitals, meaning that a large number of offenders have to be escorted to public hospitals outside the correctional facilities on a daily basis because of a lack of medical personnel within its facilities.

“This practice is not only a dangerous security risk, but the Ministry of Health and Social Services has also indicated its concern regarding the overloading of their staff, and raised security-related complaints,” he stated.

Ngatjizeko noted that the ministry was also unable to fully staff correctional facilities which were recently constructed and converted like the Evaristus Shikongo correctional facility in Tsumeb, the Hardap correctional facility in Mariental and the female correctional facility in Windhoek.

“The additional funds which the Ministry of Finance provided will be used to recruit new correctional officers in order to address this challenge.

Furthermore, the offender risk management correctional strategy which we intend to roll out to these facilities require specialised staff such as social workers and psychologists, who are critical in delivering rehabilitation programmes. But again, without adequate funds, we are unable to recruit them,” the minister stressed.