Home » Judicial » Govt to Decongest Jails

GOVERNMENT is coming up with a cocktail of measures to reduce overcrowding in prisons, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emerson Mnangagwa has said. He made the remarks in the Senate last week while responding to a question from Masvingo Senator, Mr Misheck Marava (MDC-T), who wanted to know what measures Government was putting in place to resolve overcrowding in the country’s prisons and reduce food shortage.

“I want to inform this august Senate that there are sentencing options that the Government is pursuing as well as rehabilitating measures.

“The sentencing options comprise of the following: imposing a fine in lieu of a sentence, community service for lighter offences and first offenders, granting of bail to unconvicted prisoners and decongesting the juvenile population through the Pre-Trial Diversion Programme,” said Minister Mnangagwa.

He said Government was committed to establishing a female open prison to curb overcrowding in prisons.

Minister Mnangagwa said Cabinet had already agreed that one should be established in Marondera.

On rehabilitation, he said measures being adopted included support programmes for released inmates, public awareness campaigns to raise awareness among the people about the merits of safely reintegrating released inmates as well as repercussions of committing crime and the establishment of open prisons in all regions including Female Open Prisons.

“The Government is relying on adequate financial support from Treasury to procure farming implements and to revive irrigation schemes within the prison farms.

“The Government is intensifying the existing agrarian programmes and other income-generating projects designed to reduce food shortages. Currently, we are harvesting maize this is going to contribute to the availability of food in prisons.

“It is hoped that through these measures, the overcrowding and food shortages in the prisons of Zimbabwe will be alleviated to some extent in the future but it is not adequate for the entire fiscal year,” Minister Mnangagwa said.

Source : The Herald