The Supervision of Programs in Prisons and Rehabilitation Department: The Case of Botswana Correctional Services

The Supervision of Programs in Prisons and Rehabilitation Department: The Case of Botswana Correctional Services

Dama Mosweunyane (University of Botswana, Botswana) and Cheneso Bolden Montsho (University of Botswana, Botswana)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8589-5.ch005


Supervision is very important in the running of any organisation that aims to execute its functions for the benefit of the people in the milieu in which it exists, such as prisons in Botswana. In the discipline organisations such as the Prisons and Rehabilitation department, supervision is strongly guided by the organisational structure and the need to maintain the highest standards of discipline. This explains the reason why professionals who get enlisted in the organisation undergo training that qualifies them to adhere to the prescribed standards and codes of behaviour in the organisation. The supervision in Botswana prisons has become important because of the need to rehabilitate offenders so that they become acceptable members of their respective communities. The prisons do have programs that are geared towards making the stay of prisoners in prisons more as an epoch characterised by training, than that of punishment. The chapter will demonstrate that supervision is important for prisons to run smoothly, with explicit recognisable harmonisation of activities within the institution.
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Organisational Background

The idea of imprisonment or incarceration as a form of punishment is believed to have started in the 1850s when some countries imprisoned debtors, delinquent juveniles, minor misdemeanants and felons. In modern Britain, imprisonment was started with the use of Bridewell Palace as a place where vagrants, idlers, thieves and petty criminals were confined (Melossi & Pavarini, 1981). However, in Bologna early prisons were initially appropriated from among the existing aristocratic “torri”. The first permanent cells were designated sometime between the completion of the first communal palace in 1203 and the construction of the so called Palazzo Re Enzo, the lifelong prison of Frederick II’s son who was captured in 1249 (Geltner, 2008).

As noted by Frimpong (2001), Botswana’s first encounter with the formal system of imprisonment for purposes of punishment dates back to mid-1880s, when the then Bechuanaland was declared a British protectorate. This means the structures were developed that stipulated how the supervision in prisons was to be conducted. The incarceration of prisoners was to punish than to rehabilitate them, which dictated that they be run in the manner that disregarded the rights of prisoners and supervisors ascertained that the objectives at the time were adhered to. It is noted by the aforementioned authors that the institution served in three ways, namely: to reform inmates by means of compulsory labour and discipline, discouragement of vagrancy and idleness outside its walls and lastly, to ensure its own self-sufficiency by means of forcing prisoners to provide labour whilst serving their terms of imprisonment. The importance of supervision within prisons cannot be overemphasised because the process have characterised prisons since their formation.

The form of supervision that was necessitated before the emergence of modern prisons laid much emphasis on discipline, as noted by McKinlay & Starkey (1998):

Prison is only “The extreme form” of what Foucault calls disciplinary power, for its boundaries extend well beyond the walls of the penitentiary. Within the whole range of organisations found in contemporary society, one finds not a plurality of powers but a unified power field encapsulated within bureaucratic, military and administrative apparatus (p.20).

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