34 prisoners escaped in 2015

jailbreak1Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
More than 30 prisoners escaped from the country’s prisons last year, with 14 of them being recaptured, while the others still remain unaccounted for, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) public relations officer Assistant Commissioner Elizabeth Banda-Karinda has said.

Speaking in an interview yesterday, Asst Comm Banda-Karinda said they were working with the police and inmates’ relatives to search for the escapees.

She said none of the inmates from maximum security facilities had escaped.

The country has 19 600 prisoners against a holding capacity of 17 000 in its 46 prisons.

There are 550 women and at least 50 children accompanying their mothers in the prisons.

“The number of escapees in 2015 is 34 while 14 were recaptured. The prisoners usually escape when they go out on work parties; that’s where they find the opportunity to flee. The prisoners will be escorted but if a prisoner wants to escape they are willing to risk their lives,” she said.

“As ZPCS we can’t remove the human conditions of privacy when a prisoner, for example, asks for ablution facilities; this is when most of them find the opportunity to escape.”

Asst Comm Banda-Karinda said the total number of convicted men prisoners in the country’s prisons was 16 061 while 2 402 are unconvicted.

For women she said that 378 were convicted with 112 awaiting trial.

She said maximum security prisons such as Chikurubi, Hwahwa and Khami were the most overcrowded because of the types of crimes committed such as murder and fraud which makes it impossible to decongest them.

Regarding the food situation and fuel supplies to carry prisoners to the courts, Asst Comm Banda-Karinda said the situation had improved.

She said ZPCS wanted to be self-sufficient in food, hence they were upgrading their irrigation schemes. “We have managed to upgrade Mutimurefu, Hurungwe and Mazoe irrigation schemes.

“Our food supplies have improved as Zimra gives us confiscated non-perishable goods and GMB supplies us with maize.” Because of climate change, irrigation is the best way to go.

‘’Matabeleland region has 5 418 prisoners against its holding capacity of 5 301. They are 4 565 convicted male prisoners and 551 unconvicted males with 53 convicted females.

“Mashonaland region has 7 858 prisoners against the holding capacity of 6 610.The number of convicted males is 6 377 with 876 being unconvicted prisoners while 166 are convicted females with 45 unconvicted,” she said.

“Manicaland has 2 617 prisoners against the holding capacity of 1 987 with a total of 2 134 convicted males while 369 await trial. At least 55 are convicted females while 18 are unconvicted.

“Midlands-Masvingo region has 3 759 prisoners against its holding capacity of 3 368. There are 2 985 convicted prisoners while 600 await trial. One hundred and four are convicted females with 34 awaiting trial.

Regarding the food situation and fuel supplies to carry prisoners to the courts, Asst Comm Banda-Karinda said the situation had improved.

She said ZPCS wanted to be self-sufficient in food, hence they were upgrading their irrigation schemes. “We have managed to upgrade Mutimurefu, Hurungwe and Mazoe irrigation schemes. Because of climate change, irrigation is the best way to go.

“Our food supplies have improved as Zimra gives us confiscated non-perishable goods and GMB supplies us with maize.”

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