Secondary research was conducted in order to gain a better understanding of the research topic. The majority of the information was gathered from peer-reviewed journals and therefore can be viewed as reliable. However, certain researchers differ in terms of their understanding of issues such as reintegration. The information is useful in terms of gaining a broad understanding on what has been discovered in relation to the topic. Most of the research was conducted in countries such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom and therefore are not always valid in a South African context. It must be noted that trends noticed in other countries are still useful, as they create a starting point in terms of aiming to identify trends in a South African context. Some of the challenges facing these researchers include having a small sample size – Sebapu (2011), the use of ‘rearrests’ as a means of measuring the rate at which parolees reoffend - Solomon, Kachnowski & Bhati (2004) and the research being restricted to specific areas.
For the purpose of this study the term ‘ex-offender’ will be used to describe parolees. In South Africa offenders may be conditionally released before they have served the full term of their sentence. The offender will then serve out the rest of their sentence in society but will have to abide by certain rules and under certain restrictions – this is known as parole. According to the Department of Correctional Services (n.d.) this is to promote successful reintegration of offenders back into society.
Ball (2011) comments that the possibility of parole motivates the offenders to behave; as well as to make an effort to successfully rehabilitate themselves. However, research done by Solomon, Kachnowski & Bhati (2004), revealed that less than half of the parolees investigated completed their parole period without reoffending or infringing on the terms of their parole. It was also discovered that two-thirds of ex-offenders re-entered prison within 36 months of their initial release. After conducting a study, Solomon, Kachnowski & Bhati (2004) discovered that the recidivism rates between offenders that were released on parole – under supervision – were in some cases identical and in other cases very similar – a difference of 4% - to the recidivism rates of prisoners that were released at the end of their sentences. This research, questions the validity of Ball’s (2011) statement. Both Studies, however, refer to an American context and therefore it is expected that there will be differences when the same variables are applied to a South African context.
The term reintegration is defined in various ways; with the definition depending on the author or researcher. According to Springer Link (2008) reintegration is a long-lasting journey that involves various levels. Springer Link (2008) defines reintegration broadly as either re-establishing connections or relationships or establishing new connections. This definition is a...