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Zimbabwe prisons in dire straits


ZIMBABWE’S prison system is reportedly in dire straits amid reports that Treasury was only releasing $25 000 monthly towards inmates’ upkeep against a requirement of $250 000. Justice and Legal Affairs deputy minister Obert Gutu told NewsDay at the weekend that the money was inadequate to feed the estimated 15 000 inmates at the country’s 47 prison centres.


“The food situation in our prisons remains dire because on average, Treasury has been providing $25 000 monthly to the ZPS (Zimbabwe Prison Services) for food for all the 47 or so prisons in the country and this amount is awfully inadequate considering that we have around 15 000 inmates in all our prisons,” said Gutu.

He said there was also serious shortage of prison garb. “There is also still no specific budget to cater for the food of children who are in prison with their mothers. The mothers have to share their food rations with their children and this is not a satisfactory state of affairs,” Gutu added.

However, he said presently government was planning to open up more open prisons for female inmates, with Marondera Open Prison being a pilot project.

“Several organisations, including churches and other NGOs, are currently assisting the ZPS with sanitary wear for female inmates. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is our all-weather friend and over the years they have helped with food, clothing and blankets,” Gutu said.

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