Journal of Social Development in Africa

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Documenting a best practice model for successful female inmate and female ex - inmate reintegration: the Gogo Olive Project

Gwatirera Javangwe, Tecla Ponde, Rukudzo Kanda, McDonald Matika, Wonderful Zharare


This article seeks to enhance our understanding of the needs of men and women within the prison and correctional services as well as inform and raise service provision levels. There is now a strong focus on correctional pre and post incarceration re-integration strategies for women, an often neglected population. The study adopted the case study method and used a purposive sampling strategy to select a sample of forty- five women. The majority had been incarcerated, or were currently serving prison terms that were likely to expire within a month or two. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with the targeted sample of women and data were transcribed verbatim. Data analysis used the protocol suggested by Patton (2002). Trustworthiness was established through member checking. Fourteen themes were teased out and used to characterise the Gogo Olive project. These included: (a) origins and setting of the project (b) the project (c) continuous skills acquisition (d) creation of gendered correctional industries preparing inmates for reintegration (e) markets (f) community involvement (g) empowerment (h) reduced recidivism (i) flexibility (j) gaining community trust (k) therapeutic milieu (l) documentation (m) sustainability (n) project challenge. The Gogo Olive Project has been transformative as it brought fundamental, systemic changes that positively impacted not only the female offenders but large groups of people, entire communities, and even the wider society. The Gogo Olive project is a useful best practice model worth cascading to other Zimbabwean female prisons and beyond, with scope for transforming it into a robust business model.

Keywords: Gogo Olive project; female inmate, female ex-inmate, reintegration, rehabilitation, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service

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