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Investing in Staff: ICPA assists Lesotho Correctional Service through Leadership Training

Background

Following discussions at the recent African Correctional Leadership Workshop, conducted by ICPA in Namibia during April 2018, the Commissioner of Corrections of Lesotho (LCS) requested the ICPA Staff Training and Development Network (STDN) for assistance. Commissioner Mothepu later attended our Annual Conference in Montreal in October 2018 and met with STDN representatives to discuss the provision of a pro-active joint venture on upgrading and developing the prison management via the officer training curriculum. The aim of the mission was to improve the quality and content of prison officers’ training provided by the LCS, and to establish and develop the implementation and evaluation of the curricula. It was agreed a support mission comprising experts from the STDN would conduct a training workshop in Lesotho in February 2019.

From 16-22 February, across various prisons in Lesotho, Gary Hill (Chair of the Staff Training and Development Network) and Dorin Muresan (Board Member) worked together with colleagues from LCS in order to achieve this objective.

The Programme

Upon arrival the STDN team met with Thabang Azael Mothepu, Commissioner of the Lesotho Correctional Service, and members of his senior staff to introduce the project.  A meeting with the Commissioner and the Lesotho Minister of Justice, The Honourable Mokhele Moletsane was also held to provide an update on the process and the expected results.

By agreement of the Commissioner Mothepu’s senior staff and the STDN team, a group of 40 prison directors and their senior officers were brought together to participate in the training. In addition there was a session to review the training curriculum and determine current and future training needs of staff. This exercise was used to develop potential routes for future cooperation between ICPA and LCS.

During the fourth day, approximately 25 senior Lesotho corrections managers met for leadership training and to provide feedback through focus groups. Participation was active and lively with time given for discussion and questions. The Minister of Justice also attended to address the group and requested continued cooperation between Lesotho and ICPA. Lesotho news media attended to conduct interviews with LCS participants and the STDN representatives.



Accompanied by the Commissioner of Corrections, one of the STDN representative visited several prisons both in the city and in rural areas including the main prison in Maseru which holds sentences and remand prisoners and includes female and juvenile facilities. During these visits there were occasions to greet both staff and inmates and to have discussions with the prisons directors.

This combination of prison visits, face-to-face interviews and focus group sessions with LCS senior staff led to the development of a Training Needs Analysis – the results of which will allow the training managers to set the objectives by answering two very basic questions: what needs to be done, and why is it not being done now?

 Conclusion

 By developing training curricula and establishing alternative training programmes within the prison service of Lesotho, ICPA is contributing to the development of the vocational skills of the penitentiary system staff. This innovative approach has the potential to be an example of good practice and a blueprint for the establishment and development of similar programmes in other prison jurisdictions in Africa – the result of which could help to establish uniform and cutting-edge standards across the African prison services.

Read more about the ICPA Trainings

Author: Dorin Muresan, Board Member, ICPA