Inside South Africa's Youth Reformatories (2001)





Reformatory Boys (2001) – For juvenile offenders, reformatory is the last stop when all else has failed. We enter the secret world of a South African reformatory, a place where inmates use violence and blackmail to jostle for power.

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On the recommendation of their arresting officer and the Commissioner of Child Welfare, the court sends heroin addicts Jurie (14) and Eric (17) to Ethokomala Reformatory. It is their very last chance to break free from the life that has imprisoned them. For the first time in their short lives the boys’ days are strictly regimented and they are back in school for the first time in two years, their movements supervised round the clock. They have now been off heroin for more than 4 months but this does not mean they have been rehabilitated psychologically and emotionally. Will reformatory discipline may not be enough to help them once they are sent back to Pretoria? For Eric and Jurie it may be a very temporary respite from the unpredictable demands of the street.

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45 Comments

  1. It’s sad they they don’t have a program that helps to relocate these children and their families. Donations to help fund an apartment, family therapy, education or resources to help them get them back on their feet. Because no matter how many times theses boys go to jail or juvenile detention, they will go right back to the same way of life if they return them to the same neighborhood, the same streets. Jail or juvenile detention just teaches them to be better criminals when they are behind close doors talking to other criminals who are far worse than they are. It’s not the face they show in group but the real face they show behind close doors. They should be monitored 24/7.

  2. When you keep using heroine, it produces an impulsive urge in the brain that doesn’t go away with 2 years in prison, from what I know very well is the impulse in the brain to use heroine because of long term abuse of the drug doesn’t go away, this I know, the Afghanistan boarder is a bus ride for me because I live not far from the boarder of Afghanistan, but I still have a hard time believing heroine is in demand in Africa, because peoples are not used to hearing that on the news, but United States is a different story, heroine is a life time struggle and very few peoples remain clean after even long term incarceration because the chemistry of the human brain is changed after long term usage

  3. Heroine in Africa…I know it comes more from the eastern parts of the world towards Afghanistan and even going past Afghanistan in the east but it seems strange that people in Africa have a demand for heroine and on top of that it comes in large amount that even kids can get their hands on it, I still believe that it is rare to find heroine in Africa or that there is a demand that exists over in that part of the world because it doesn’t make sense, I live not far from Afghanistan boarder and it still amazing that people in Africa demand this drug, Africa and the word heroine doesn’t come together because it is more demand in the United State for this drug then in Africa, it doesn’t make sense for people in Africa to use heroine, it even sounds strange

  4. I was smoking at a very young age, if my mother didn't beat the crap out of me i was going to be worse like these kids. The fact that i was getting my @ss kicked HELPED ME. Some of us Africans will hit our children so bad they will end up being teachers or something. White people HIT those kids they will thank you one day

  5. There is nothing much for the ride to get the visitors list for now and I'll be there in a few minutes and I will be there at noon so I can get the money from you soon and thanks again for all your help and support

  6. Just a pity it is so dated. I would like to see how it is now in 2019, 18 years later. Back then the social services infrastructure of South Africa was still pretty much intact.

  7. Firstly why were they arrested just because they where spotted or because they have track marks I get the story but I don’t get how and what this shows about the law just something that bothered me

    And truthfully the only way they will stop is when they decide too

  8. A story that I nearly forgot. I stay in South Africa at the Western Cape in a city that's got a reformatory school for boys. As I was walking past the school one Sunday early evening coming from work a boy from school greeted a man and woman who were walking infront of me.The way they answered him told me that they knew who he was. He asked them through the window why they were letting walk so freely without robbing or attacking me. They ignored him and I was not even intimidated by his request because I knew that they were going to do the biggest mistake of their lives. I was armed for self defense and I was not afraid and zI showed it to him by passing his friends by. They just ignored me and I'm happy they did otherwise things should have turned ugly. No I didn't have a gun with me but since I don't like guns and don't even have a license for them. I had some good stuff to protect me.

  9. It's so sad …this is affecting all races and what breaks my heart they are kids who are influenced by crime on the streets and by parents who never cared about them. Let us know our children as parents and try hard to notice any changes in our children's patterns. Let us try not to give too much freedom and damaging false love to them. Let's be true and try to bend them while they are still young. Being left by one of the parents is no excuse for bad behaviour.

  10. Watching how SA youth is wasted across colour line am scared, let's wake up South Africa and fight this drug addiction to our kids. Where are the two Pretoria boys? pls take them away from their mother.

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