Mugabe Begs International Support For Overcrowded Prisons

“I call upon churches, international donor community, civic groups businesses and others to continue to support our prisons…” said Mugabe who was speaking at the graduation ceremony of 514 prison guards at Ntabazinduna Zimbabwe Prisons Service (ZPS) training depot just outside Bulawayo.

Mugabe also said ZPS should utilise farms which the prison service was allocated by government recently.

“At independence in 1980 ZPS had 13 farms but now we have you allocated another 11 to make a total of 24 and we expect you to utilise these farms, so that you can be able to feed inmates,” said the President.

Zimbabwe prisoners die in their hundreds every month due to mainly a shortage of food and drugs. Food shortages in the country’s prisons have seen an increase in incidences of pellagra, scabies and other diet related diseases. Apart from grappling with food shortages, Zimbabwe’s prisons also battle with diseases such as tuberculosis, and HIV/Aids.

Zimbabwe has 55 prisons including satellites with a holding capacity of 17 000 inmates, according to Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO). ZACRO is an independent prisoner rehabilitation organisation.

Among those prisons guards who graduated 368 were male while 147 were female, five dropped out before completing the course for various reasons.