President Emmerson Mnangagwa has through the Presidential Amnesty gazetted last week released 1 680 prisoners on Wednesday morning.
The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) had initially recommended the release of 5 000 prisoners in a bid to decongest the country’s prisons to 16 838 but most of the prisoners failed to meet the minimum requirements.
The Herald reports that only 53 women benefited from the amnesty after it turned out that women topped in the commission of specified offences like murder, robbery, carjacking, sexual offences and public violence.
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ZPCS national public relations officer Superintendent Khanyezi Meya who spoke during the release of the pardoned prisoners urged families of the released and society to accept them. Meya added:
We welcome this measure as it is going to decongest our prisons, especially in the wake of COVID-19.
The government recently announced a raft of measures meant to stop the spread and transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Social distancing is one of the most emphasised preventive measures and as a result, Zimbabwe is on a 21-day lockdown.
Decongestion of prisons was therefore recommended as a measure to complement efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
More: The Herald