An empowerment programme in the production of citrus and vegetables at the Patensie Correctional Centre in the Eastern Cape is paying dividends for offenders. Not only do they learn new skills, but their work is also saving the Department of Correctional Services money .

Last year, more than 192 000 kg of citrus was harvested. More than 20 medium offenders work in this project. They get screened before joining the project as they work with tools.

The citrus project also supplies oranges to other correctional centres in the province. Last year, the department had a target of producing 150 000 kg of citrus, but it got more than it was bargaining for. The department has had various meetings with local farmers in the area with the hope of finding employment for these offenders in the citrus industry when they complete their jail terms.