Victor Maphosa Herald Correspondent
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers have been urged to appreciate their constitutional mandate and protect society from criminal elements through rehabilitation of offenders who would be re-integrated into the society.
Officer Commanding Harare Metropolitan Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Alvord Gapare made the remarks on Friday while officiating at the graduation ceremony of 29 prison officers who had completed ZPCS CO2 Supervisory Course No. 1-2019.
Of the 29 who graduated, nine are females.
The ceremony was held at Chikurubi Training School. “As correctional officers, you must appreciate that our constitutional mandate is to protect society from criminal elements through the incarceration of offenders, as well as ensuring that they are rehabilitated to facilitate their successful reintegration back into the society upon discharge from our institutions,” he said.
“In view of this mandate, it follows that integrity, professionalism, courage and fairness are key and principal characteristics of a desired correctional officer.
“As such, we are expected to treat people with fairness, respect and dignity whether they are inmates, inmates’ family members or friends, visitors or any other person while at the same time displaying courage in the performance of our duties,” Senior Asst Comm Gapare said.
He said for the mandate to be realised it is imperative for continuous training of officers.
“For this too be realised, there is need for continuous training of members of staff because only training programmes such as this one allow us to strengthen those skills.”
He said one of the organisation’s objectives is to fully rehabilitate inmates before they are released back into society.
One of our objectives as an organisation is to educate the general public that the corrections profession is not just about “locking up people and throwing away the keys. The public needs assurance that we are doing more than that.
“Sooner or later the inmates will be released back into society.
“This is when our efficiency as a prison system will be partially judged. It is therefore our duty as a profession to prepare such individuals for their successful reintegration into the society.”
He implored them to share and implement what they have acquired during their three months’ training period.