South African Prisoners Turn to Theology to Keep on Straight and Narrow |TODAY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-08-28 10:38.
It wasn‘t long before he went through the “restorative justice” programme, where prisoners ask forgiveness from the people they wronged. In 2005, Nuku took it a step further by starting Call Out Against Crime – to convince fellow inmates that “crime doesn‘t pay”.
ONCE nicknamed “Beirut”, there used to be a stabbing a day in the maximum security section of Port Elizabeth‘s St Albans prison – home to convicted murderers, rapists and other hardened criminals.
Today, guards and prison chaplains report a changed place, with few stabbings.
“There are only scattered incidents now,” said prison chaplain Rev Nzimane Jita.
“The last one I can remember was in about 2004.”
The inmates themselves have changed – some embarking on unlikely paths, like the small group of long-termers and lifers who are studying theology.
They are completing a certificate course on the New Testament, through the Theological Education by Extension (TEE) College.
Not only are they determined to live changed lives, they want to make an impact on their fellow inmates and their communities when they eventually return to them. Some run Bible studies, prayer groups and anti- crime programmes, while others are working with juvenile offenders in an effort to stamp out gangsterism.
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