Home » General » ZIMBABWE PRISONS SERVICES FACE FUEL SHORTAGE, CANNOT TRANSPORT PRISONERS TO, FROM COURTS

HARARE, Dec 17– The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) says it is failing to transport prisoners to and from the courts for hearings because of a shortage of fuel, compromising the justice delivery system in the process.

ZPCS Spokesperson Elizabeth Banda told New Ziana here Tuesday that the ZPCS had not yet received its fuel allocation for this month. “By now, we have not yet received our monthly allocation for December which we usually receive every month end, hence we are failing to transport prisoners to courts,” she said.

“For courts only we need about 16,290 litres each month but we are only getting less than half of that. We are, however, hoping to get something by the end of this week. About 51,000 litres are required for administration issues and we are also getting less than a quarter of that.”

Zimbabwe’s prisons are home to at least 18,000 prisoners and Banda said that because of the tight budget the ZPCS was also struggling to feed prisoners. She said the ZPCS was prioritizing provision of food as a basic right for prisoners.

The jail population in Zimbabwe has been rising over the years since the economy started going into a downward spiral as more people resorted to crime to survive, resulting in the holding capacity being exceeded and conditions deteriorating.

At the height of the economic meltdown in 2008, an outbreak of cholera and food shortages badly affected prisoners, claiming the lives of an undisclosed number of inmates and resulting in the Red Cross Society intervening to rescue the situation.

Prison authorities have been forced to approach President Robert Mugabe to grant amnesty to some of the inmates to ease conditions with at least 2,000 pardoned in February this year, after 1,500 were released in 2009.

SOURCE: NEW ZIANA

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