Barely three months after President Robert Mugabe pardoned more than 3,200 prisoners to decongest the country’s jails, prisons are fast filling up again with the courts sending re-offenders back into custody.
Prisons and Correctional Services Deputy Commissioner General, Aggrey Machingauta, told parliament’s human rights committee that the country’s prisons are overcrowded again as many who benefitted from the pardon are committing crimes.
Prisons in the country are failing to adequately cater for inmates in terms of food and uniforms.
Machingauta said there currently are over 17,318 inmates in the country’s prisons against a holding capacity of 17,000 with 29 babies currently living with their incarcerated mothers.
Chief executive Eddison Chihota of the Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender said the country’s economic situation is forcing people to commit crimes resulting in prisons overcrowding again.
Retired General Mike Nyambuya, chairman of the parliamentary human rights committee, said the country needs to promote other forms of punishment as opposed to putting every offender behind bars even for petty crimes to lessen the burden on the crumbling prison system.