The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) recently hosted an Experiential Learning Orientation Session for UKZN’s criminology and forensic studies student volunteers at the Howard College Theatre.
Representatives from the department, Mr Azwihangwisi Nesengani, Mr Kagiso Mmutlane and Ms Magdeli Matji, facilitated the orientation session.
The aim of the orientation was to provide an overview of the community and risk profiling and to assist criminology students to understand the environment of correction centres. The DCS representatives also encouraged students to volunteer on the criminology profiling learning programme.
UKZN academic Professor Shanta Balgobind-Singh said, ‘The Experiential Learning programme is important for students because it will improve their learning and experience and it will boost their curriculum vitae (CVs).’
The DCS assured students that their safety would be the priority during the programme. Nasengani who is the Director for Community Liaison at the department, said ‘The DCS will take responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all the students who will participate in this Project.’
Another DCS representative, Magdeli Matji spoke to the students about the various correctional programmes in which they could join and assist offenders. ‘We have needs-based programmes that address offenders’ offending behaviour. Some of these programmes focus on anger management, alcohol and drug abuse and even programmes designed for female offenders that focus on relationships, career building and general life skills.’
Ms Thandanani Ngidi, a Masters student who participated in the programme in 2016, advised students to grab the opportunity with both hands. ‘This is a great opportunity; therefore I would like to encourage all the students to take this opportunity. For me, it was an incredible experience, I learnt a lot and I got the chance to see what is untold. On the first day, it will be scary but working with the inmates will change your perceptions towards them.’
Prof Singh said that the MOU between UKZN and DCS will be renewed for the next 5 years.