Prison Population Balloons To Over 20 000 A Few Months After The Presidential Amnesty

The new prison boss, Zimbabwe Prison And Correctional Services Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu said the population in prisons has once again reached 20 000+ which has put a strain on the government department’s budget, The Herald reports.

Chihobvu was commenting on the issue of prisons overcrowding when he told a Herald reporter who was interviewing him that:

The prison population has continued to balloon over time with inmates now exceeding 20 000 in our country’s correctional facilities.

Overpopulation in our prisons has put a strain on budgetary provisions to ensure that inmates are adequately catered for in areas such as food, accommodation, shelter and health needs including rehabilitation facilities.

Stakeholders have been of great assistance in meeting some of the needs which are however not always enough taking cognisant of the ever-increasing number of inmates.

ZPCS has, however, not been sitting on its laurels as the situation degenerates. A number of initiatives have been done to try and mitigate the circumstances. For instance:

The Open Prison System, where an open prison for women which is on the cards is set to de-congest female prison facilities where female offenders live in prisons not suitable for them.

The submissions made for the release of some offenders through an amnesty is envisaged to de-congest some facilities.

Those pardoned on Presidential Amnesty are reminded of the need to utilise skills acquired and embrace rehabilitation efforts that they experienced and never to set foot in prison once again unless they are coming to visit inmates.

Above all rehabilitation programmes being conducted in all prisons countrywide are meant to ensure that inmates shun their elements of crime and live as law abiding citizens hence diminishing the recidivism rate.

Continuous engagements will also be pursued with the Judiciary Service Commission to ensure that offenders with offences of less gravity will be commuted to non-custodial sentences.

In the long run, we intend to establish new prisons, a move which we shall pursue from my predecessor’s vision which will see all prisons in towns and cities being relocated to our prison farms.

We continue to urge members of the society to desist from committing crime as this is detrimental not only to personal, and societal lives but to the good of our nationhood as resources are strained to the limit trying to cater for the welfare of those incarcerated.

The presidential amnesty when the lockdown started saw over 5000 people leaving Prison facilitates after it had been reported that Zimbabwe’s prison has a holding capacity of17 000 prisoners but had over 22 000 inmates at one point.

More: The Herald

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