The role of ex-offenders in implementing the Community Work Programme as a crime and violence prevention initiative
This article deals with the perceived impact of the Community Work Programme (CWP) (a statesponsored job creation project) in preventing crime and violence in the townships of Ivory Park and Orange Farm, South Africa. The focus of this article is on the role that ex-offenders who work in the CWP play in the implementation of crime and violence prevention initiatives in the two communities. Individual interviews and focus groups were conducted with ex-offenders involved in the CWP. The thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data. Findings show that the involvement of ex-offenders in the CWP was found to be a positive factor in that it protected them from recidivism by providing them with job opportunities and facilitating their re-integration into their communities. Ex-offenders described their involvement in the CWP as an opportunity to apologise for the pain they had caused community members when they committed crimes against them. It is against this background that the CWP is perceived to have a positive impact through the community work done by ex-offenders who talk to the youth-at-risk about the negative consequences of crime and violence, as well as of substance abuse.
Key words: Community Work Programme, crime, ex-offenders, violence, youth.