Ex-offenders build house for former inmate



MASERU – A house built by ex-prisoners for their fellow former inmate has been completed and handed over to the owner a Ha Mohasoa in the district of Mafeteng. The house, that was handed over to ex-offender Sakoane Mphasa on October 1, is fitted with solar panels as the source of energy. The event was graced by officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Office of the Chief Justice, the Lesotho Correctional Services, as well as former inmates.

This is part of crime prevention initiatives by former prisoners who, since their release from prison, are focused on crime prevention and the reintegration of ex-offenders into society. In this way they contribute towards a crime-free society through extensive rehabilitation of victims, inmates, as well as advocating deterrence for potential perpetrators.

Working under the Crime-prevention, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Ex-offenders’ Association (CRROA) umbrella, the former prisoners began working together as an NGO in 2010 to help their respective communities through primary crime prevention.

They work with inmates through extensive rehabilitation programmes, reintegrating them into their communities after serving their jail terms. Through this mandate, the organisation has attracted international interest as it lives off other international communities whose mandates are in line with enhancing human life and fighting the stigma against those that have been behind bars.

Speaking to Public Eye, the CRROA Marketing Officer, Teboho Potsane, said as an organisation they have become middlemen between the ex-offender’s last home (prison) and the new home which is the society they had wronged. “It is a very challenging, yet doable task and most people don’t understand how we do it, but I am happy to announce that the feedback we receive is very positive as people want us to go back into their communities after having a brief with them.

“In a bid to curb the evil of crime, CRROA works to stabilise the lives of former inmates as they try and adapt to the outside environment. The association has a chain of past and upcoming events aimed to empower its members and keep the youth out of crime as studies have shown that they are engaging in criminal activities,” Potsane continued.

In his remarks during the handover, Minister in the Prime Minister Office, Kemiso Mosenene, applauded CRROA for its endeavours and pledged to tour the country together with this organisation to bring awareness to the public of the stigma towards ex-offenders.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Law and Justice, Lebeko Sello, also honoured CRROA for “doing exactly what the Lesotho Correctional Services should have implemented, and I am thankful for the rehabilitation services offered to the ex-offender out of our holding facilities.

“Ntate Mothobi, we would like Lesotho to be crime-free and for prisons to be inmates-free but somehow we can’t; and, we would like all to be rehabilitated but we can’t, therefore, we are thankful to CRROA for its efforts,” Sello further said. Expressing gratitude to the organisation the beneficiary, Mphasa, gave thanks for his new house and pledged to be hands-on in CRROA’s activities.

“I have never liked the life I lived as an offender against the law, alone as an individual I would sit down and wonder when I was going to let go of that life,” Mphasa shared with the gathered crowd. CRROA is the brain child of an ex-offender.




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