Inmates bear the brunt

The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has been failing to feed the estimated 17 000 inmates in the country’s 42 correctional facilities at the prescribed standard dietary scale since last year. The service is also struggling to transport remand prison inmates to court as it continues to grapple with fuel purchases. Two such instances were encountered last month.

Reports indicate that the inmates are being fed porridge without sugar, bread and tea for breakfast. They are also being served sadza and spinach for a combined lunch and supper.

Health experts say such a diet will lead to malnutrition and, eventually, various health problems.
Latest findings show that a large number of the inmates are suffering from scurvy and pellagra, among other diseases.
ZPCS spokesperson Chief Superintendent Elizabeth Banda-Karinda said feeding inmates was a daunting task.

“Budgetary constraints have resulted in our prisoners not getting the prescribed standard dietary scale as prescribed in Statutory Instrument 96 of 2012.

“We are failing to feed our inmates with meat since we are not getting enough funds from Government. Recently, we also experienced challenges in transporting inmates from remand jails to the courts.”

Speaking before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs recently, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said the ministry required US$21 million annually to feed inmates.

Last year, Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of Offenders chief executive officer Mr Edison Chihota said the situation in prisons needed urgent address.

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