New Prisons Boss Says Prisons Are Over Crowded Even After Amnesty
20 August 2020
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Paul Nyathi


President Mnangagwa recently promoted Deputy Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu to Commissioner- General of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services with effect from November 1, 2020.

In an interview with State Media on his new position, Chihobvu lamented over the growing population in the prisons despite the recent amnesty by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The prisons boss said:

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.