|Situation at prisons deplorable|
|Saturday, 08 September 2012 20:06|
PRISONS in the country are still facing challenges in providing inmates with food, blankets and other necessary needs as the country continues to grapple with budgetary constraints, an official has said.The situation has seen the Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS) failing to give inmates three square meals a day while blankets are scarce.
This comes amid revelations that Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Obert Gutu has been invited to attend the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA)’s 14th Annual Conference in Mexico next month where he is expected to meet and create synergies with development partners to better the country’s prisons and correctional facilities.
Deputy Minister Gutu told Sunday News that the current situation in the country’s prisons was dire. He said the real picture on the ground was worrying as there were times when prisons have to do without such basic items as sugar, salt and cooking oil.
He said the conference would provide a platform for him to look for potential partners to better service provision in the country’s prisons as well as improve the food situation.
“The current condition in our prisons is dire. The food situation is still very bad and as of now, the Zimbabwe Prison Service cannot afford to give prison inmates three square meals a day mainly because of budgetary constraints.
There is a shortage of sugar, salt and cooking oil. Generally, prisoners are given porridge without salt or sugar in the morning and sadza with boiled cabbages in the afternoon,” said Deputy Minister Gutu.
He added that the conference in Mexico was going to provide a platform for him to meet with potential partners who might be willing to assist the country to better its prisons.
“The conference in Mexico will assist me to meet and network with stakeholders from all over the world. This will empower me with skills on how to run a modern correctional facility and it will also enable me to meet with potential development partners who will assist Zimbabwe to transform its prisons into modern prisons where hunger and shortage of uniforms and other resources would be a thing of the past,” he said.
The theme for this year’s conference is “Different Paths, One Vision” and will give particular attention to improving prison conditions, enhancing public safety, reducing re-offending, and staff professionalism and leadership.
The conference will examine a worldwide view of various approaches to prison system transformations, and creative perspectives on the challenges and changes the world faces in enhancing public safety.
The event will attract a significant number of the world’s leaders and experts in corrections from the public, voluntary, and private sectors.
The ICPA annual conference is a global forum for correctional professionals who come together to discuss issues of common interest and share best practices; as well as providing a venue for dialogue, mutual support, and assistance through a strengthened international professional network.