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Developing Correctional Leaders: A Training Workshop for African Corrections Professionals

Under the auspices of the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA), the African Correctional Services Association (ACSA) and the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS), 38 corrections professionals from 11 African nations met for a five day intensive training session on Developing Correctional Leaders. The training was held in Omaruru, Namibia at the Lucius S. Mahoto Correctional Service Training College. The College is a modern training facility with classrooms, parade grounds, gymnasium, food service, student and staff housing and administrative offices. The NCS provided housing for the participants as well as transportation from and to the airport in Windhoek. The ICPA paid for food for the participants as well as accommodation and travel costs for the trainers. Trainers volunteered their time for the training. Special thanks is due to Corrections Canada for allowing two of their Wardens to participate as trainers in this event, Bobbi Sandhu, Warden at Kent Institution in British Columbia and Curtis Jackson, Warden at Collins Bay institution in Ontario.

Organized by the ICPA, instructors from Canada, Namibia, Israel, Uganda, and the United States led sessions on general correctional leadership principles and practice, and issues facing African correctional leadership in particular. Sessions covered transformational leadership, values, integrity and standards, community corrections, needs assessments and the strategic use of an offender information system. Participants also shared programmatic and operational information from their home nations and held general discussions both among themselves and with the trainers. Relying on a multi-faceted format of lectures, structured discussions, group assignments and strategy development, participant feedback suggested the group was both engaged and appreciative that challenges facing correctional leadership in Africa could be shared and examined in some depth.

In addition to utilizing several forms and templates to review the needs of their own nations and to learn how to use them on returning home as practical tools, each participant filled out a survey on Leader Character and how it might impinge on the leadership of their own nationThe survey results will be used as context on by a professional researcher to compare with other findings on Leader Character and the results will be shared with the nations participating.

The Leadership Training Workshop is the fourth training seminar conducted by ICPA for African nations and this particular session was a direct result and follow-up to a session held in Namibia in 2014 prior to the ICPA Annual Conference. Added to the event this year was a parallel two-day session on Health Care Leadership in corrections, offered to a group of more than 20 nursing and medical staff, which included an exciting demonstration of the potential of Telemedicine in African corrections. A separate report on the Health Care Training event will be published in ICPA’s E-bulletin.

Discussion at the conclusion of the seminar this year made it clear that the African nations want more, similar workshops and the opportunity to participate in intensive training in conjunction with ICPA in their home nations. At its recent Strategic Planning session in London, England the ICPA Board identified an enhanced focus on Leadership Development as one of the key components of ICPA’s ‘Way Forward’. This new ICPA ‘Way Forward’ will be presented to the membership for endorsement at the upcoming Annual General Meeting in Bucharest. For Africa, discussions will be ongoing for how to accomplish the development of a Leadership Training Academy in partnership with ACSA.

The nations attending were: Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. A summary of participant evaluations of the training will be presented in a subsequent issue of ICPA’s E-bulletin.

Author: Diane Williams, Gary Hill & Dr. Frank Porporino