Rwanda is planning to roll-out halfway social reintegration centres for incarcerated persons that are about to complete their sentences, as a way of preparing them to return to their families and society. According to information from Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS), in the local context, halfway social reintegration centres accept preleased offenders from correctional facilities, provide basic necessities of room and board, and attempt to determine each individual’s problems for reintegration, plan programmes to remedy these problems and provide support staff to assist the resident in resolving problems and returning to society as a law-abiding citizen. ALSO READ: Gov’t looks to increase use of non-custodial penalties Pelly Gakwaya, the spokesperson of RCS, told The New Times the centres will provide residential inmate aftercare programmes as a way of aiding the transition between their release from the correctional facilities and their return to living independently within the community. “It is expected that in each province we will have one halfway social reintegration centre and this will start with the Eastern Province where funds are being mobilised from both the government and other RCS partners. This is very promising because some partners have already shown interest in funding the pilot project in Rwamagana District, Eastern Province,” reads a statement from RCS. The RCS notes that the transition centres are a tool that will offer study and diagnostic services in addition to the rehabilitation services obtained during their stay in the correctional facilities. “Within this categorisation, the residential aftercare facility will provide supportive services to the pre-released offenders aimed at readjusting to the community from prison and, consequently, to avoid recidivism,” RCS’s statement further read. ALSO READ: New policy on alternative justice to help reduce backlog in courts Other supportive services that will be offered in the facilities will include, assistance in vocational training, counselling, source of skilled manpower to private sector educational and recreational opportunities, and a supportive environment. Furthermore, the use of halfway social reintegration centres is linked to the successful reintegration of offenders in society, which can only effectively be accomplished in a real community setting. With the use of transitional facilities, the confusion, uncertainty, and stress faced by released offenders can be dealt with so that they can readjust to independent living. “The halfway social reintegration centres thus can function as a ‘decompression chamber’ for the offenders before being released from a long period in the correctional facility,” Gakwaya noted. According to the Commissioner General Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS), Juvenal Marizamunda, the country is moving towards a more correctional system than a punitive one. Commenting on the development, Innocent Muramira, a private lawyer based in Kigali, said it is a good move that will give capacity to the beneficiaries to provide for and build their families after leaving the correctional centres. With the use of transitional facilities, the confusion, uncertainty, and stress faced by the released offenders can be dealt with so that they can readjust to independent living.