FOODSTOCKS at most of the country’s prisons have dropped significantly and the situation is likely to get worse after the Prisons and Correctional Services Department was allocated a paltry $2,5 million against its requirement of $21 million in this year’s budget, a senior government official told MPs yesterday.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Virginia Mabhiza told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs that the 18 800 inmates in the country’s 46 prisons also urgently needed clothing.
“In order to feed prisoners on the prescribed standard dietary scale as prescribed in Statutory Instrument 96 of 2012, the ministry requires $21 million for the whole year, but the department was only allocated $2,5 million for prisoners’ rations,” Mabhiza said.
“The $21 million is money needed that is if the prison polulation remains constant at 17 000 and also if prices remain static, and unlike any other requirements the feeding of prisoners cannot be postponed.”
The committee, which is chaired by Harare West MP Jessie Majome heard that although the Department of Prisons and Correctional Services had been allocated farms under the land reform programme, it was failing to utilise them due to financial constraints. On prisoners’ uniforms, she said the department’s factories in Harare, Mutare and Hwahwa were inadequately resourced.
“We need funding to be more viable in order to make garments for prisoners. We do magistrates and judges’ garments in those factories,” Mabhiza said.
The ministry had requested for $279 million, but was allocated $108,9 million.
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Mabhiza said the shortfall was likely to negatively affect justice delivery and rehabilitation of offenders. She added that operations of the newly-constituted Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the National Prosecution Authority would also be affected.