The aim of this article is to explore the dynamic of language choice and language use as well as to examine the effect of language policy on language attitudes in the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) with special reference to Pretoria Central Prison, now called Kgoši Mampuru Correctional facility where there is some resistance to the use of English as the only official language of business.
A case study was conducted at this facility to find out the language attitudes of the participants towards English as the only official language of business. A questionnaire was used to evoke the participants’ attitudes and beliefs regarding the importance of the use of other official languages (indigenous languages which, like English, also have official status) in their daily lives. A total of 60 correctional services staff and 280 offenders took part in this research study. Interviews and observations were mainly carried out at the research site to triangulate the data. Only the findings from the 280 offenders will be reported in this article.
The findings of this research study show that the participants were keen to use their languages of choice and favoured the language functions of their indigenous languages. The findings suggest that the prevailing language attitudes were in contrast with the aims of language policy at DCS thus making the effect of language planning not to be realized.