Harare, December 02, 2013 – More than 100 prisoners have died in detention in Zimbabwe’s prisons since January owing to biting food shortages, it has emerged.
Radio VOP understands that the country’s prison inmates are suffering untold horrors which include hunger and nutrition-related illnesses which they are exposed to through unhygienic conditions.
The poor and agonising state of conditions in the country’s prisons was confirmed Monday by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) which disclosed before a parliamentary portfolio committee that 100 inmates had died as a result of food stock outs and natural causes since the beginning of the year.
“It’s true that we are facing challenging feeding our prison population. The death rate stands above 100 since the beginning of the year which is not a good figure,” said Agrey Machingauta, the ZPCS deputy-commissioner.
Machingauta said the death rate is almost the same as last’ year’s one.
The ZPCS boss said instead of giving inmates the mandatory three meals per day, prisons were currently struggling to serve prisoners one meal per day.
Zimbabwe currently has a prison population of 18 460 inmates who are held in the country’s 46 prisons.
The inmates’ shameful misery is hidden away from the public gaze as prisoners are detained behind high walls and razor wire.
Critics say an ordinary jail sentence in Zimbabwe is as good as a death sentence.