In South Africa all the major categories of violent crime (homicide, aggravated robbery, serious assault and rape) showed an increase during the early 2000s. More than half of the total offences that were committed in South Africa during 2005 were aggressive offences. The goal of the study was to explore the perception of offenders regarding the triggering and contributing socio-economic factors to aggravated robbery with a view to inform rehabilitation and re-integration programmes for these offenders. Within the context of the interrelatedness of socio-economic factors such as poverty, inequality, unemployment and human rights, developmental social welfare and its underpinning theory of social development was an appropriate theoretical framework for the study. A qualitative research approach was utilised for the study and data was gathered by means of semi-structured interviews. Respondents for the study included maximum-term offenders that were serving an imprisonment sentence for aggravated robbery. The research findings indicate a reciprocal relationship between poverty, inequality, unemployment, intoxicating substances and intra- and interpersonal factors as possible triggering and contributing factors to aggravated robbery. Unemployment, which is exacerbated by a lack of education and skills development and linked to intra- and interpersonal factors, appears to be a dominant socio-economic factor that could contribute to or trigger aggravated robbery. The study concluded that rehabilitation programmes still lack a holistic, integrated developmental approach and hence do not prepare ex-offenders for full integration into society. The Department of Correctional Services was pointed out as a significant role-player in facilitating rehabilitation programmes that include skills development for job creation in a holistic, integrated developmental manner. Recommendations include that the Department of Correctional Services should seek partnerships and closer working relations with external service providers, and develop and implement integrated developmental rehabilitation programmes that will facilitate the creation of productive economic opportunities for offenders while they are still incarcerated and once they have been released back into the community.