Original Research

A Fatherhood Faith-Based Values Intervention programme for incarcerated fathers at the Potchefstroom Remand Detention Facility: A narrative approach

Fazel E. Freeks
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 1 | a2607 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2607 | © 2020 Fazel E. Freeks | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2020 | Published: 24 August 2020

About the author(s)

Fazel E. Freeks, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


This article provides a reflective discussion of and narrative approach to incarcerated fathers based on the attendees of a Fatherhood Faith-Based Values Intervention programme at the Potchefstroom Remand Detention Facility. It is important to note that one-third of South African inmates are between the ages of 18 and 25 years – hence the reason why the majority of intervention and community engagement programmes at correctional services take place amongst the youth age group. The Department of Correctional Services reported in 2011 that South Africa had 159 265 incarcerated inmates at the time, of whom 110 905 were sentenced offenders and 48 360 were awaiting trial. In 2013, the World Incarcerated Brief reported that South Africa had the largest incarcerated population in Africa and the ninth largest in the world. Seventeen-year-olds comprised 53 000 of this number and were guilty of committing serious crimes. These numbers increased tremendously over the years. According to the former South African Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, in 2013, 30% of inmates were awaiting trial, and most of them were young black men. He also indicated that, although 23 000 inmates were being released each year, 25 000 were introduced into the correctional services system. South Africa currently has overcrowded places of incarceration even though the president of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, granted special remission to 14 647 offenders in 2019. Incarcerated fathers are traumatised and affected by these places of captivity, even when they are on parole or released from detention. The effect of incarceration on fathers is a serious concern in South African society and challenge to the researcher who studies the fatherhood phenomenon and the dilemma of father absence.


fathers; fatherhood; faith-based; values; programme; inmates; correctional services.


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