WASHINGTON DC —
More than 2,000 prisoners were released early from Zimbabwe’s prisons Monday following a pardon by President Robert Mugabe on February 12.
First to be released were inmates at the Chikurubi Female Prison followed by others at Harare Central Prison.
Among those benefitting are women, except those serving life terms or who have been sentenced to death. Juveniles under 18, terminally ill prisoners and all those 70 years and above are being released.
This will see a reduction in the number of prisoners in the country’s 42 prisons. With a holding capacity of 17,000 the prisons were holding 18,980 people.
Most prisons in Zimbabwe have been facing serious food shortages resulting in the deaths of some inmates due to malnutrition-related diseases.
Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offenders (ZACRO) chief executive Edson Chihota urged communities to embrace the inmates and help them reintegrate into society.
“Most of these prisoners have reformed now and they need their communities to embrace them, it is very important so that these former inmates can play a role in society as a whole together with their families and all,” said Chihota.