Prisoners decry poor diet

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

INMATES at Mutare Remand Prison have bemoaned inhumane conditions characterised by lack of clean water, balanced diet, clothing, blankets and overcrowding, which is making the penitentiary a haven for disease.

This came out during a media tour of the prison on Saturday.

Inmates claimed they cannot sleep owing to overcrowding and complained about acute shortages of food and medicines.

Member-in-charge of Mutare Remand Prison, Maplan Kakoto echoed the prisoners’ plight and appealed for help.

He said the facility was overcrowded because it was accommodating inmates from Mutasa, Nyanga and Mutare districts.

He said the Mutare Remand Prison was holding nearly three times its carrying capacity of 175 inmates.

“We need help to be a real correctional service, but the government can’t afford it alone, so we need partners, who can help in any way,” he said.

“Currently, prisoners are overcrowded at Mutare Remand Prison. We have a holding capacity of 175 prisoners, but currently, we have at least 494, which is a big number. Mutare Farm Prison which can only take 320 offenders, has 414 inmates.

“We are surviving on borehole water and we are now appealing for water tanks.”

Water shortages are exacerbated by water rationing by Mutare City Council.

One prisoner, who refused to be named, said they did not have enough space to sleep.

“It’s difficult here. We are overcrowded. There is no space to sleep; sometimes we sleep seated,” he said.

“We are urging the government to come up with a solution, because we will continue to suffer.”

Another prisoner bemoaned the poor diet and lack of medication at the facility.

“Our diet is not balanced. Sometimes we eat relish without cooking oil. We don’t have adequate blankets and prisoners who are on anti-retroviral treatment are struggling to get medication,” he said. The inmates also appealed for sporting equipment.

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