Prisons boss frets over spike in jailbreaks

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ZPCS Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi

A TOP official in the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has raised concern at the sharp increase in jailbreaks, particularly in Mashonaland West province, this year.

By James Muonwa

Five inmates fled from prison in Karoi, Kadoma had three and Hurungwe and Chinhoyi had two prison breaks each, giving a total of 12 – the highest in the country.

Ten escapees were later recaptured, while two are still at large.

Speaking at a provincial end-of-year party in Chinhoyi on Friday, ZPCS officer commanding Mashonaland West, Senior Assistant Commissioner, George Denya said the trend was worrisome.

“In 2016, we have encountered a number of escapees, as a province. Many of them were preventable if officers, who were on duty were alert. As management, we are not happy about this situation. There is need to tighten our security, so that we do not compromise our mandate,” he said.

Denya implored officers-in-charge of various prisons to read the riot act on their subordinates, so that they remain vigilant and curb cases of jail breaks.

“We need to create and maintain the good image of our province, which should be free from scandalous behaviour and disastrous incidents.”

Denya said as a newly-created province following the disbanding of the former four regional headquarters into 10 provinces early this year, his administration was seized with mobilising resources to build a new headquarters in Chinhoyi.

Decentralisation, Denya said, was aimed at decongesting prisons, which used to fall under one commander, a situation that compromised their capacity in terms of management efficiency and resources allocation.

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