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Chikurubi Riot Highlights Zimbabwe Prison System Challenges

  • Tatenda Gumbo

The Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender said Monday the riot Friday at Chikurubi Maximum Prison that has so far claimed five lives, highlights the prevailing challenges facing Zimbabwe’s prison system.

Though the Zimbabwe Department of Prison Services has confirmed the death of one inmate and 11 injured, reports say more have passed away due to serious injuries sustained in the riot. Reports said 27 were injured including prisons guards.

Prisoners rioted Friday over the poor quality of food at the maximum prison.

Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender director Chief Edson Chihota said prison authorities must avail details of the riot. He added the discussions on prison conditions with officials continue.

“I think from their point of view it is an issue which is not particular to the prisons only but a Zimbabwean scenario where the economy has melted down and cannot make them perform some of their duties,” said Chihota.

Prisoners have long claimed better prison conditions including food, water, cleanliness amongest other issues.

More than 100 Zimbabwean prisoners are said to have died in 2013 due to food shortages “owing to nutrition-related illnesses induced by food shortages and natural causes.”

Zimbabwe has 72 prisons which are severely underfunded resulting in shortages of clothes and food for inmates. The country has almost 17,000 prisoners

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