Prison in­mates to get wages

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Aux­ilia Ka­ton­go­mara Chron­i­cle Reporter

FAR reach­ing changes to the Prison Act will see pris­on­ers be­ing em­ployed and paid in a move that will as­sist them to pick up the pieces when they leave jail.

ZPCS di­rec­tor le­gal ser­vices Se­nior As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Speto­so­musa Chi­nobva yes­ter­day said the em­ploy­ment of pris­on­ers is one of the ma­jor is­sues in the pro­posed Pris­ons and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Bill.

She said all along they had been work­ing on the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of of­fend­ers but it was not leg­is­lated for, but the new Bill would ad­dress that.

“This will see in­mates go and per­form work and they will be re­mu­ner­ated for that work so that’s one of the ma­jor changes the Bill seeks to bring,” said Snr Asst Comm Chi­nobva.

The pro­posed Bill has also raised hopes of re­lease to pris­on­ers serv­ing life sen­tences as it makes them el­i­gi­ble for pa­role in a his­toric move that re­verses their con­dem­na­tion for life.

The re­forms are part of the Govern­ment’s ef­forts to re­align the coun­try’s laws with the Con­sti­tu­tion.

On the is­sue of em­ploy­ment of in­mates, Sec­tion 129 of the Bill em­pow­ers the Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral of Pris­ons to en­ter into con­tracts for pris­on­ers to do paid work.

“The Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral may en­ter into a con­tract with any in­sti­tu­tion, per­son or body or per­sons for the em­ploy­ment and train­ing of in­mates who are un­der a sen­tence of im­pris­on­ment upon such terms and such con­di­tions as may be de­ter­mined, gen­er­ally or specif­i­cally by the Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral,” reads part of the Bill.

“For the pur­pose of en­cour­ag­ing in­mates to par­tic­i­pate in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ac­tiv­i­ties and work of­fered by the Service or pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to in­mates to fa­cil­i­tate their re-in­te­gra­tion into so­ci­ety the Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral may au­tho­rise the pay­ment of gra­tu­ities to in­mates.

“The gra­tu­ity re­ferred shall be paid to in­mates ac­cord­ing to such con­di­tions and such rates as the Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral may from time to time de­ter­mine”.

The Bill says all in­mates may be made to work within or out­side the precincts of any prison or cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity in any work or ac­tiv­ity ap­proved by the Min­istry re­spon­si­ble for Pris­ons and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices.

It states that in­mates deemed un­fit to do any du­ties by a med­i­cal of­fi­cer shall not be re­quired to per­form any work but may be given light work.

It says fe­male in­mates can­not be em­ployed out­side a prison or cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity ex­cept on the rec­om­men­da­tion of a med­i­cal of­fi­cer.

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