Batswana prison officials tap into local expertise Botswana Prisons Deputy Commissioner Keneilwe Mokwenaotsile (left) accompanied by Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service Deputy Commissioner-General Shepherd Mpofu (centre) are shown finished products in a clothing workshop by chief correctional officer Elliot Chitabura during a tour of Harare Central Prison workshop yesterday. - Picture: ZPCS.

Precious Manomano-Herald Reporter

BAtswana prison officials are in Zimbabwe for a five-day visit to share advice with the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Service on rehabilitation of inmates and reviewing their bilateral relations with the aim of strengthening ties.

Zimbabwe has a good record of prisoners learning skills that help them grow much of their own food while behind bars and upon release.

The visiting officials were impressed by several income-generating projects undertaken in Zimbabwe’s prison system and wished to replicate them in their countries.

ZPCS instructors are in Botswana, Eswatini and Zambia to train their counterparts on internal policing, as well as other prison security courses following a recent agreement aimed at improving the quality of service in prisons.

Speaking after touring a workshop at Harare Central Prison complex, Botswana Prison Deputy Commissioner Keneilwe Mokwenaotsile said she had learnt more on rehabilitation of offenders.

She was excited with empowerment of inmates that taking place in prison facilities.

“I want to go and implement the projects in our country so that it helps offenders when they get back to their families,” she said. 

“Botswana prison service is under transformation so we want to realign our mandate so that we rehabilitate our offenders well. 

“We also introduced rehabilitation programmes so we want instructors to come and give their skills. I am going to introduce all that I witnessed here to my country.’’

ZPCS Deputy Commissioner-General Shepherd Mpofu said the visit will enable them to exchange ideas so that they both successfully manage their prison services.

“This visit is important for us because they are seeing progress in our production in running correctional facilities,” he said. 

“There are also things that we should copy from them because they are also doing very well. 

“We are going to visit various prison workshops. They are also restructuring their farms so they need more on the production side as well as rehabilitation hence. 

“We have also plans for further engagements. 

“Our Commissioner-General is in Botswana for benchmarking. Botswana came here also because it wants to restructure and become Botswana Correctional Service

“In terms of rehabilitation Botswana has gone far as involving chiefs and churches for reintegration into society. ZPCS has trained inmates in various programmes including those on death row. 

“One of the programme is peace education where it offers psychological support, moral regeneration and violence reduction.

“The programme aims to train both inmates and staff to enhance the rehabilitation thrust as the country moves towards the attainment of the vision of being the leading correctional service provider in the region and beyond by 2030.”

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