Keeping them out of prison: A restorative justice education intervention with prison inmates in Lesotho





 This research project involved planning and implementing a restorative justice education programme with prison inmates in Lesotho aimed at restoring their self-worth and dignity, and to evaluate its outcomes. The project began with focus group discussions with first-time offenders, repeat offenders and ex-inmates to identify the main challenges faced by ex-inmates. It was found that these were stigma, rejection by their families and communities and the harsh socio-economic environment. The study then utilised restorative justice education materials from a South African NGO, Phoenix Zululand, which were translated into Sesotho and modified to suit local conditions. The programme involved discussion groups led by a facilitator and culminated in a conference involving inmates and their families held shortly before release. An evaluation conducted 12–18 months after release found very positive outcomes for the ex-inmates and their families concerned but there are reasons to be conservative in what is claimed in terms of programme success. 


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Author Biographies

Ntholeng Molefi, Durban University of Technology

Ntholeng Molefi was a chaplain for 15 years with the Lesotho Correctional Services before undertaking postgraduate studies in peacebuilding at the International Centre of Nonviolence at Durban University of Technology. In 2022, he became Director of Chaplaincy Services with the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Lesotho. 

Geoff Harris, Durban University of Technology

Geoff Harris is Research Professor in the International Centre of Nonviolence at Durban University of Technology. His recent publications include Infrastructures for Peace in sub- Saharan Africa (Springer International, 2019), jointly edited with Medial Hove. His current research interests include demilitarisation and restorative justice and processes, particularly with respect to prisoners. 






Research articles