Prisons grappling with food shortages

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THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) is facing serious operational challenges owing to shortage of resources, Parliament’s Human Rights Committee heard yesterday.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

It emerged during a tour of the Chikurubi Maximum and the Harare Central prisons by a Senate Human Rights Committee that the ZPCS was grappling with acute shortage of food, fuel, drugs, clothes and other important things.

ZPSC officials made a passionate plea with the committee to have the challenges addressed at the overcrowded institutions.
Inmates recently revolted over poor diet at Chikurubi Prison.

Almost 1,5 tonnes of mealie-meal, 230kg of beans and 460kg of vegetables are required on a daily basis. At Harare Central Prison one tonne of mealie-meal is required a day, something which ZPCS is failing to provide.

“On behalf of the Commissioner-General, we are grateful that you have spared time to hear our challenges,” said ZPCS deputy commissioner Rhodes Moyo.
“We are really in serious problems. Please you should get out of your way to speak on our behalf so that our pleas are heard.”

The Senators were shown infrastructure that was badly damaged at Chikurubi during the food riot where inmates broke asbestos sheets, sewer and water pipes, and set ablaze various properties in a failed prison break that left five people dead and several injured.

Chairperson of the thematic committee Senator Mike Nyambuya said they would push for Treasury to release money to ZPCS.

“The prisons are overcrowded and seriously under-resourced to the extent that ZPCS cannot undertake its mandate,” the retired lieutenant-general said.

“There is a very big requirement that the ZPCS is sufficiently resourced so that they can be able to carry out their duties. The infrastructure is very old and dilapidated and there is need for it to be refurbished. The food is horrible. It is a right of prisoners to get the right diet.”

Nyambuya added: “We will recommend to the relevant authorities that in the next budget the Ministry of Justice should be allocated adequate funds.”