Nicro celebrated 180 years

Nicro Safety Ambassodors from Hodisa Technical High School, Moemedi Secondary School and Kopanang Secondary School at last year’s Heritage Day celebrations. From left: Oreratile Mpekoa, Sizwe Masoabi, Masego Kibi, Mbulelo Nogaba and Mannuku Kalakhosi. PHOTO: SEITHATI SEMENOKANE

The South African National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO), recently celebrated 180 years of turning around the lives of troubled youth and juveniles.

Founded in Pretoria by Justice J de Villiers Roos of the South African Prisoners’ Aid Association (SPAA), on 6 September 1910, Nicro specialises in social crime prevention and offender rehabilitation and reintegration, boasting a rich, unparalleled history in human rights, juvenile justice and criminal justice reform.

“We are very proud that the organisation is celebrating such a feat, and that it has continued to grow to such an extent. This shows that our work has an impact on people’s lives here in the Free State,” said Safety Ambassador co-ordinator in Bloemfontein, Lehlohonolo Motshabi.

For more than a century Nicro has sought and introduced innovative solutions to the problems faced by our society. Nicro played a crucial role in convincing the authorities of the benefits of restorative rather than punitive justice in respect of less serious and non-violent crime.

Much of the organisation’s pioneering work continues to form the very backbone of contemporary criminal justice practice, including: The supervision of prisoners released on probation along with those who receive a suspended sentence, which dates back to the early 1930s; Community service, introduced by Nicro as an alternative to incarceration during the 1970s; Diversion, an embodiment of and a crucial vehicle for restorative justice, and non-custodial sentencing as an alternative to serving a prison term.

The work we do in schools is also an indication that we are open and willing to help the people of our province as much as we can so that we can have a wholesome society,” added Motshabi.

Motshabi concluded by stating that even though as a non-profit organisation they are still facing financial challenges, they are grateful for the positive impact they have on our society. – Seithati Semenokane